Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Boy starved himself, says mother

Amanda Hutton arrives at Bradford Crown Court

A mother accused of killing her under-nourished four-year-old son told detectives it was not her who starved him because "he would starve himself", a court has heard.

A jury was played police interviews with Amanda Hutton in which she explained how she panicked when Hamzah Khan died in her arms after he became ill following months of failing to eat properly.

Bradford Crown Court has heard how Hamzah's body was discovered in a travel cot in Hutton's bedroom, in the city, almost two years after he died in December 2009.

Prosecutors claim Hamzah starved to death due to the defendant's neglect.

But, in the police interviews, Hutton, 43, described the problems she had getting the youngster to eat and admitted he lived on a diet of bananas and milk for the last few months of his life.

"I was worried about him," she told the officers. "I didn't know what to do about him. I was at my wit's end. He had really, really started to lose weight. I started to panic even more. Then he stopped eating altogether."

In one of the interviews, Hutton said: "He wasn't being starved, he would starve himself." She said: "He would not eat. He would refuse point blank to eat. I thought I could handle it, I could get to the top of it and it would be OK." And she told the police: "He was given an adequate diet but he wouldn't eat it."

Hutton told the interviewing officers how Hamzah became ill the day before he died and she stayed up all night with him. She said she went to a supermarket the next day intending to talk to a chemist about Hamzah. But, she said, she got a call from her grown-up son Tariq after she arrived at the store, telling her her to come back because Hamzah's eyes were rolling back into his head.

Hutton told police that when she got home she picked Hamzah up and started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a bed. The defendant said: "I just panicked. I didn't know what to do. Panic really took over. I held him for quite a long time. I put him in the cot until I could think about what to do." Hutton said: "I was completely, completely numb. As each day went by, I just found it harder and harder to do anything about it."

Asked by interviewing officers why she did not seek medical assistance, Hutton said: "I'm not a doctor person. I have a fear of doctors and things like that." Hutton denies manslaughter. The case was adjourned until Thursday.

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