Hamzah mother gets 15 years in jail for horrific neglect
Published 04/10/2013 | 13:01
AN ALCOHOLIC mother of eight who starved her four-year-old son to death and left his body in a cot for nearly two years has been jailed for 15 years.
Amanda Hutton, 43, was found guilty of the manslaughter of Hamzah Khan at Bradford Crown Court yesterday.
Hamzah's body was found in squalor at Hutton's home in Bradford in September 2011.
Hutton admitted neglecting five of her other children aged between five and 13, who were living in the terrible conditions.
Her eldest son Tariq Khan, 24, was given a two-year suspended sentence for preventing the burial of his younger brother.
Hutton showed no emotion as she was led from the dock.
Judge Roger Thomas QC told her: "The details of your wicked conduct have been displayed in such awful detail over the past three weeks in the trial that concluded yesterday."
He said the offences "demonstrate a most fundamental and serious breach of any duty that an individual in decent society can owe to others - namely the duty that a parent owes to her or his young children to take proper care of them".
The judge said the children were found in a situation that was "breathtakingly awful".
Judge Thomas said all the offences he was sentencing Hutton for are "all arising from your terrible failures to fulfil the most basic responsibilities that you, as a mother, should have fulfilled".
He said the manslaughter of Hamzah involved "failing to provide him with anything like adequate nourishment over a long period of time - in short you starved him to death".
In terms of the five child cruelty charges she admitted, the judge said that related to a period of nearly three years "when, on an ever declining scale, you failed your young children, causing them to live in quite appalling conditions of squalor which understandably shocked even the most seasoned police officers who attended your home in September 2011".
He told Hutton she "must be regarded as a real danger to any child with whom you may live, or in any way have care of in the future".
The judge told the court: "I make it clear that this sentencing exercise is not an exercise in seeking to identify or explain how various agencies failed to identify and act upon the very long term and severe neglect that you visited upon your child and which went as far as you literally starving Hamzah to death.
"Undoubtedly others will be enquiring into such matters and that is something beyond the reach of this court.
"However, your deviousness and entirely purposeful conduct in keeping various agencies away from you and your children so that what you were doing was not discovered must be a feature of this case that I should take into account in sentencing you today.
Judge Thomas sentenced Hutton to 12 years in prison for manslaughter. He gave her a three-year sentence for child cruelty which he said was to be served consecutive to the 12 years. And the judge said she should serve two-and-a-half years for preventing the lawful burial of Hamzah but said this was to be served concurrently.
A charge of fraud relating to Hutton claiming child benefit for Hamzah after his death will lie on the file.
Judge Thomas said the duty of care a parent owes to a child "involves various obligations from providing not just simple human love and affection but to all the practical matters than young children need from their parents.
"This indictment demonstrates your longstanding and wretched breaches of these most simple and fundamental requirements.
"The squalor in which your surviving children were found in September 2011 was breathtakingly awful."
He recalled how an experienced pediatrician told the jury how her visit to Hutton's house after Hamzah's body was discovered was "the most extreme example of neglect" she had encountered in her career.
The judge said it was clear Hutton had an alcohol problem and that "you placed your own selfish addiction to drink well before your responsibilities to your many children."