Father-of-three Rachid Khadla, 56, from Windsor, Berkshire, made his daughter sign a life-long ‘contract’ promising to never get fat and weighed her almost daily, a jury heard today
A fitness fanatic father made his daughter sign a life-long ‘contract’ promising to never get fat and weighed her almost daily, a jury heard today.
Father-of-three Rachid Khadla, 56, from Windsor, Berkshire, is facing charges of child cruelty and assault over his treatment of his now-adult daughter Amira and sons Hicham and Karim.
Amira, now 23, said her ‘controlling’ father decided what she could wear, who she could see, who she could talk to and what she could watch on television.
The body-obsessed defendant – who was ‘very conscious’ of fitness and dieting – allegedly made his daughter sign a document reading: ‘I, Amira Khadla, will never let myself get fat. I will do lots of exercise to make sure I will never get fat, even until I die.’
She also said Khadla hit her with a spoon regularly, punched her arms and chest and even threw a chair at her, leaving a lump behind her ear.
Khadla is also accused of punching his youngest son Hicham – who is now 18 – in the chest and strangling him for ‘five to ten seconds’ for being too slow at household chores.
Hicham told his teacher about the alleged abuse and his father was arrested.
Eldest son Karim – who severed ties with the whole family over the alleged cruelty he received as a child – says Khalda punched him in the head so hard that he fell over aged 15.
Amira (pictured), now 23, said her ‘controlling’ father decided what she could wear, who she could see, who she could talk to and what she could watch on television
Khadla denies three counts of child cruelty and two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Reading Crown Court heard that Amira remembers her father throwing a chair at her aged nine, leaving a lump behind her ear.
Khadla allegedly lied to doctors, claiming the injury was caused by a football.
Having been hit regularly with a spoon and punched on her arms and chest, Amira admitted she was ‘fearful’ of her father.
She said he would constantly put her down, calling her stupid, a failure and rubbish, the jury heard.
Hicham (pictured) told his teacher about the alleged abuse and his father was arrested
Prosecutor Alex Krikler said: ‘The defendant was very conscious about his own fitness and diet, regularly attending the gym and eating healthily.
‘His daughter’s weight was a constant issue. In fact, all the children would be regularly weighed by the defendant to make sure that they had not put on weight.
‘In 2012 the defendant made Amira sign the following document: “I, Amira Khadla, will never let myself get fat. I will do lots of exercise to make sure I will never get fat, even until I die”.’
His wife of 27 years Sarah Khalda did not intervene but the court heard she has supported the police investigation.
She told the court he had a ‘quick temper’ and would get angry for no reason towards their three children.
Khadla was ‘aggravated’ by his youngest son Hicham who has learning difficulties, the jury was told.
On October 16 2019, the schoolboy was carrying out household chores – cleaning his sister’s bedroom – when the defendant attacked him for being too slow.
Mr Krikler said: ‘He punched Hicham to the chest a number of times and then pushed him onto his sister’s bed.
‘He then placed both hands around his neck and strangled him for quite some time, five to ten seconds, before pulling him up, punching him to the chest and walking away.
Khadla is facing charges of child cruelty and assault over his treatment of his now-adult daughter Amira and sons Hicham and Karim. Left to right: Hicham, Amira, their mother Sarah and Karim
‘Hicham had tried to say “stop” but had been unable to speak.
‘He could not breathe and although the marks left by the strangulation were relatively minor, the incident was extremely frightening.’
The next morning – moments before the family had to leave to attend his sister’s university graduation ceremony – Hicham told his mother that his father had ‘crossed a line.’
Hicham then went to school where he confided in his closest friends about the strangling ordeal.
The boys told their teachers what happened and the staff informed police.
Khadla was arrested later that evening, a judge heard.
Following the arrest, Hicham told police how his father had treated him at home as he was growing up.
Mr Krikler told the jury: ‘For the most minor of transgressions at home, he said that he would regularly get “the spoon”.
‘His father would make him put his hands out and would smack the palms of his hands with a wooden spoon.
‘He also described how his father would push and punch him and on occasion throw things at him.
‘The abuse was not just physical. The defendant would also threaten extreme violence, that he would “splatter his brains across the ceiling and kill him”. His father would tell him that he was weak.’
The eldest son Karim also recounted the cruelty he suffered as a child, remembering ‘the control, the temper, and the violence’ and being punched to the head so forcefully when he was aged 15 years that it knocked him over.
Reading Crown Court (pictured) heard that Amira remembers her father throwing a chair at her aged nine, leaving a lump behind her ear
The court heard that after he left home, the now-26 year old had severed all ties with his father and family before the allegations came to light.
Khadla’s wife Sarah, who had been married to the defendant for 27 years, supported her children’s account of how they were ill-treated, the jury was told.
‘She describes the control he exerted over the family and how he had a quick temper and would get angry for no reason. That anger she describes as being directed towards the children,’ Mr Krikler said.
After his arrest, the 56-year-old defendant denied strangling his son, instead claiming he was acting in ‘self-defence.’ He said his son was in a rage and he was in fear.
He claims he grabbed Hicham, who had tripped onto the bed, to restrain him.
The prosecutor said: ‘When asked how he would discipline his children, he said when they were younger he would smack them on the bottom.
‘But otherwise he said that he had never beaten or physically chastised them.
‘He denied threatening his children or physically hurting them, saying that he sometimes shouted, but that was it. He denied controlling his children.’
The prosecuting barrister concluded his opening speech by telling the jury: ‘It is for you to judge but the account of each child, supported by their mother, you may conclude is compelling, revealing the reality of life within the family and the conduct of the defendant.
‘The prosecution case is that you can be sure that he was not merely a disciplinarian but that he unlawfully assaulted his children and ill-treated them such that his behaviour did cross a line and does amount to criminal conduct.’