Khyra Ishaq's agonising and drawn-out starvation occurred after numerous visits to her Birmingham home by teachers, police, social workers and council home-schooling experts.

Birmingham City Council, which was aware of concerns about the seven-year-old's welfare almost five months before her death, came under fire within days of the tragedy in May 2008.

It emerged during the trial of Angela Gordon and Junaid Abuhamza that the council had been notified of concerns about the child's welfare when she was withdrawn from school in December 2007.

The original trial of the two defendants was told that the deputy headteacher of Khyra's school made three phone calls to social services within the space of 24 hours to express concerns for her welfare.

It is known that several visits were then made to Khyra's Handsworth home, although she was seen by social workers on only one occasion - for around ten minutes on her mother's doorstep.

Among those who called at Gordon's terraced home in Leyton Road was social worker Ranjit Mann. Ms Mann told Birmingham Crown Court she called at the property on January 28, 2008, but no-one was in.

Ms Mann, who never met Miss Gordon or Khyra, had no power to compel Gordon to arrange another visit and passed the matter on to colleague Sanya Scott before leaving the educational welfare department on February 1.

Ms Scott and another social worker, senior practitioner Anne Gondo, went to Leyton Road more than three weeks later, on February 21.

On that occasion, Khyra and two other children were brought to the door by Gordon, but neither social worker saw any cause for concern.

Giving evidence during the re-trial of Gordon and her partner, Ms Scott estimated that the visit had lasted around 30 minutes and that she had seen Khyra for around 10 minutes.

Khyra had appeared to be well, Ms Scott said, adding that she had no concerns about her health or well-being.

Under cross examination, Ms Scott stated that there had been "nothing untoward or unusual" about Gordon's decision to deny them access to the house.

Recalling the same visit, Ms Gondo told the court that a man she now presumed to be Abuhamza had answered the door and refused to identify himself.

"We must have been there for about 45 minutes," Ms Gondo told the jury. "We spoke to the children as they looked quite awkward - they had been brought outside to the door-step to meet two strangers and asked how they were."

Ms Gondo, who also described the children as appearing fit and well, said she had not believed that further visits were necessary.

Another visit to the house had been made 13 days earlier by Irving Horne and Richard Lewis with a view to helping Gordon to educate Khyra at home.

Mr Horne, an advisor with Birmingham City Council's education department, and Mr Lewis, a senior educational social worker, were allowed into Gordon's home, where a makeshift classroom had been set up in the living room, on the morning of February 8, 2008.

No children were seen during the hour-long visit, at which Gordon and Abuhamza were asked to provide plans for Khyra's schooling before the end of the month.

Mr Horne, who also gave evidence at the trial, said: "I was told that the family had had a late night and the children were still in bed."

The mentor, who said his role was to provide advice to Khyra's mother and step-father, described the laws governing home-schooling as "very weak" and also disclosed that written statements concerning Khyra's future education had not been forthcoming, prompting him to pay a second visit to Leyton Road on April 16.

Mr Horne added: "On the second occasion, there was no response and I would have put a note through the door with all my details on.

"We knocked on the door several times, giving plenty of opportunity for people to come to the door."

>More: Khyra Ishaq's mother cleared of murder, but guilty of manslaughter 

>More: Khyra's home was stocked with food;   Events that led up to her death