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 boy, a jury heard yesterday.
Hamzah Khan’s body was found when police entered Amanda Hutton’s house in Bradford, almost two years after he died. His corpse was discovered with a teddy in a travel cot in his mother’s bedroom, and the house was 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 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.”
The prosecutor told the jury Hamzah was four 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 added: “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 that there was a 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.
Mr Greaney told the jury he expects Hutton’s defence lawyers to argue that Hamzah’s malnutrition could have arisen through “some naturally occurring condition”.
In police interviews, Hutton said her son had become particularly unwell on 14 December, 2009. She said she went to a supermarket to consult a pharmacist the next day 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 she had treated his body with dignity, and it is right we should observe that Hamzah’s body was found with a teddy.”
Mr Greaney said Hutton told police things deteriorated after her son’s death and she began to drink a bottle of vodka a day.
The jury of four women and eight men were shown pictures of the inside of Hutton’s home. The lounge was filled with rubbish, including pizza boxes and empty bottles, which were so deep the carpet was not visible.
Mr Greaney said a consultant paediatrician went to the house after Hutton’s arrest and found it “overwhelming to visit”. He said: “She discovered that there was a huge amount of rubbish, rotting matter, faeces and empty bottles. She described the smell of the property as offensive almost beyond description.”
Mr Greaney told the jury a police officer said to Hutton, “You know what’s been found, don’t you Amanda?” as the defendant was being taken to the police station. The prosecutor said Hutton told the officer: “He died two years ago on 15 December.”
Mr Greaney said the prosecution case was that Hutton was guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence on two grounds – that she failed to feed her son adequately and failed to seek medical assistance for him.
Hutton, who sat in the dock with a security guard, denies the charge. The trial continues.