A fitness fanatic father who forced his daughter to sign a ‘contract’ promising she would never get fat has been jailed after being convicted of child cruelty.
The estranged children of Rachid Khadla revealed the horrific nature of the abuse they suffered at the hands of their father, who ran a dictatorial regime from the family home in Windsor, Berks.
After a five day trial, the 56-year-old was convicted after shocking evidence revealed the extent of his tyrannical regime, such as weighing his children weekly to make sure they did not put on weight.
Khadla (pictured), of Dedworth Road, Windsor, Berks, was made the subject to an indefinite restraining order against all members of his estranged family
Khadla’s only daughter, Amira (pictured), explained in a victim impact statement that she was made to feel worthless and developed an eating disorder following the weekly weigh-ins
If his children, Karim, Amira and Hitcham, disobeyed his strict regime, he would punish them by beating them with a wooden spoon, the court heard
The fitness fanatic father even forced his daughter to sign a contract in 2012 promising that ‘I will never let myself get fat…I will do lots of exercise to make sure I will never get fat….even until I die.’
At his sentencing hearing today, Khadla’s only daughter, Amira, explained in a victim impact statement that she was made to feel worthless and developed an eating disorder following the weekly weigh-ins.
The slim veterinary nurse said: ‘I was made to feel stupid and worthless, I lost my self-confidence and developed an eating disorder.
‘Every bit of my life was affected growing up, we did not have a normal life or a happy childhood.’
During the trial, the judge heard how her father controlled all aspects of family life – withholding access to the internet, mobile phones and house keys.
If his children, Karim, Amira and Hitcham, disobeyed his strict regime, he would punish them by beating them with a wooden spoon, the court heard.
Today, prosecutor Alex Krikler explained that when Amira was aged just nine, her father threw a children’s plastic chair at her head and in later years strangled his son Hitcham, leaving him gasping for air.
Khadla was convicted of two counts of causing actual bodily harm for these offences and three counts of child cruelty after a trial at Reading Crown Court.
On Friday, eldest child Karim Khadla took to the witness box to share his experiences of living under the aggressive dictatorship.
The suited father-of-one said: ‘My first memory was aged five years old, I had a habit of throwing away my lunch at school, as I grew older I realise it was a cry for help.
‘My father was not happy when I got home, I suffered my first physical abuse at the hands of my father. I remember my father repeatedly hitting me. He was six foot weighing 16 stone, I was just a small child.
‘My most severe beating was my last, he punched me into the side of my head knocking me unconscious. Now I get intimidated when someone shows anger towards me, as if I have PTSD.
‘At school, I had no friends, I was severely bullied daily, they viewed me as a weirdo. But being bullied was almost enjoyable compared with what I was experiencing at home.
‘I was coercively controlled for the first 18 years of my life. As a father myself, I do not understand how someone can gain pleasure from dictating his family’s life.’
In his defence speech, barrister Philip Rowlands claimed that the defendant now lived a sad existence having cut all contact with his former family.
‘Mr Khadla has had absolutely no contact with his family, in many ways he presents as a sad and unfortunate character, that is the position he finds himself in.
‘He is not a man without quality and is not a man without credit which makes it all the sadder that he faces this sentence today,’ the defence counsel added.
Sitting at Reading Crown Court, Judge Kirsty Real called the father-of-three a ‘bully’ before sending him to prison for two-and-a-half years after he was convicted of three counts of child cruelty and two counts of actual bodily harm.
The judge said: ‘It is a sad case for everyone involved. The backdrop to these offences was one of fear and silence of your unpredictability and the severity of the consequences.
‘Having heard from your wife and children, it is clear what a relief it was to have you removed from the family home. You have ruined their childhood, they lived in a constant state of anxiety, they did have the freedom to form relationships that young people their age were expected to have, because of the oppression you maintained in the family home.
‘It was the assault on your son Hitcham that broke that silence. You were a bully and your unwillingness to accept your behaviour will be of no comfort to your family, I hope in due course you change your mind, having had a look inwards at yourself.’
Khadla, of Dedworth Road, Windsor, Berks, was made the subject to an indefinite restraining order against all members of his estranged family.