A senior policeman who investigated the starvation of Birmingham girl Khyra Ishaq said the harrowing nature of her death had reduced even the most hardened officers to tears.
Speaking less than an hour after the end of the trial of Khyra's killers, Detective Inspector Sean Russell said he believed the little girl was kept a virtual prisoner in an upstairs bedroom in Handsworth.
Reading a statement, Mr Russell told reporters: "Khyra Ishaq was a seven-year-old child who died before her time.
"On May 17th 2008, Khyra was found dead at her home address in the most harrowing circumstances, which has reduced the most professional police officers to tears.
"The very people who should have been looking after Khyra - her mother and Junaid Abuhamza - killed her through systematic abuse.
"During the trial, witnesses have given evidence about what amounted to abuse and neglect."
Khyra, the officer noted, had been the subject of numerous beatings and been starved of food, while being isolated from other children for whom her mother was also responsible.
Mr Russell continued: "The defendants had created a situation in which the children, who were being educated at home, had been kept away from their extended family, friends and the outside world.
"They were also prevented from doing the things that an ordinary child does."
Mr Russell concluded his remarks by saying: "Khyra's untimely death was ultimately caused by an overwhelming infection brought on by severe malnutrition - a cause of death you don't expect to see in the Western world, let alone Birmingham, in the 21st century."