Dead boy's mother 'claimed benefit'
Published 18/09/2013 | 11:26
A mother who left her four-year-old son's body to mummify in her bedroom after he starved to death continued to claim child benefit for the youngster, a jury has heard.
Hamzah Khan's body was found when police went into Amanda Hutton's house in Bradford, West Yorkshire, almost two years after he died. His mummified corpse was discovered with a teddy in a travel cot in his mother's bedroom in a house filled with rotting rubbish and faeces. Prosecutors told a jury trying Hutton for manslaughter that the 43-year-old did nothing to alert the emergency services about her son's plight and even ordered pizza within hours of his death.
Paul Greaney QC, prosecuting, told Bradford Crown Court: "She made no call for assistance - for a doctor or an ambulance. What did she do? Within hours she was ordering a pizza. So, no call for assistance but a call, or even calls, for pizza. Moreover, she thereafter continued to claim child benefit in respect of her dead son."
The prosecutor told the jury Hamzah was four and half years old when he died but was wearing baby clothes that fitted him and his development was "comparable to a child aged between one year and 18 months".
"In short, he starved to death," Mr Greaney said. "How had a child starved to death in 21st century England?" He said: "Amanda Hutton failed to provide her child with the nourishment that he needed to survive and, in so failing, she killed him."
Mr Greaney said Hamzah's body was found in September 2011 after police community support officer Jodie Worsley went to the house on a number of occasions due to concerns raised by neighbours. The court heard how there was terrible smell coming from the terraced house and, when Hutton eventually opened the door, there were flies buzzing around her. Police went into the property and "what they discovered disturbed even hardened officers", Mr Greaney said.
The prosecutor said Hutton was an abuser of alcohol and cannabis and had been subjected to violence by Hamzah's father, Aftab Khan, who lived away from the home.
In police interviews Hutton said her son had become particularly unwell on December 14, 2009. She said that the next day she went to a supermarket to consult a pharmacist but got a phone call to come home. Mr Greaney said: "She explained that when she returned Hamzah was near to death. She sought to revive him but to no effect. She described placing Hamzah into his cot, making plain that she had treated his body with dignity, and it is right that we should observe that Hamzah's body was found with a teddy."
Mr Greaney said the prosecution case was that Hutton was guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence on two grounds - that she failed to feed him adequately and failed to seek medical assistance for him. Hutton, who sat in the dock with a security guard, denies the single charge.
Wearing a black top, black cardigan and a black skirt, she wiped tears at some points during Wednesday's proceedings. The trial continues on Thursday.