Police officer tells of horror after finding mummified body of boy (4)
A police officer who found the mummified body of a four-year-old boy as he searched a house has told a jury he was so shocked that he could not stop his hand shaking.
Acting Sergeant Richard Dove said he was one of a number of officers who went into Amanda Hutton's house in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in September 2011.
He told Bradford Crown Court how the body of Hamzah Khan was found in a travel cot in Hutton's bedroom.
He said he found the body after removing layers of bedding, clothing and shoes.
"I believe I can deal with any situation," he told the court.
"But my right hand started shaking. I had to grab my hand to calm myself down. So I went downstairs."
The jury has heard that Hamzah had been dead in the cot for almost two years when his remains were found by Acting Sgt Dove.
The officer told the court he made the discovery after going back into the bedroom for a second time.
He said: "I felt as though there was something wrong."
Hutton, 43, denies manslaughter.
Prosecutors have told the jury that Hamzah died because he was starved by his mother.
Hutton told police the little boy died of a natural illness.
Sgt Dove said: "There was like clothing and shoes and bedding piled up in the cot.
"I started to take shoes and bedding off and working my way down through the layers."
Paul Greaney QC, prosecuting, asked the officer: "What did you find?"
Sgt Dove said: "The body of a small child - Asian in origin."
He said the boy was wearing a white baby-gro and his head was tilted towards the right hand side.
"I was shocked because I thought to myself 'is that real?'.
"I didn't expect to find what I found.
"For a split second I thought 'is that real?', doubting myself."
The officer described to the court how skin from the child's face stuck to the final cover as he pulled it back.
He said the face was "mouldy" and "to me, it was mummified".
Sgt Dove said he was struck by the right hand of the body.
"It was a bit like a stump, like a fibrous stump - dried out."
The officer told the court he was "transfixed" at that point by what he saw and felt he had to leave the house.
Sgt Dove described the terrible state of the house before he made his grim discovery.
He said there was a smell he said was "rubbish mixed with sweat mixed with urine" and rubbish piled everywhere.
The officer said he found beds soaked in urine but eventually became "acclimatised" to the stench.
He said that he had 11 years experience as a police officer but had "never seen anything like it".
Hutton told interviewing police officers how she panicked after Hamzah died.
The jury of eight men and four women was read a series of interviews with the defendant following her arrest in September 2011.
She told detectives how Hamzah had always been small and how she had trouble getting him to eat properly.
"He stopped eating even more over time," she said.
"I was worried about him. 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."
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 to come back because Hamzah's eyes were rolling back into his head, so she got a taxi home.
Hutton told police that when she got home she picked Hamzah up and started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a bed.
"I just panicked," the defendant said.
"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."
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."
Hutton said: "Ever since he's been born he's been fussy with eating.
"I just thought I could make him OK. I always worried about him. I worried about him from the day he was born."
She added: "I was never a very happy child. He was quite a miserable child.
"That was just the way he was."
Hutton told officers: "He was given an adequate diet but he wouldn't eat it."
She agreed that in his last few months, Hamzah would mainly eat only bananas and milk.
Asked if this was a proper diet, she said: "I know they're not. It was all he would eat. At least it was something."
Hutton said she tried to feed him the nourishment drink Complan to build him up.
Asked if it worked, she told detectives: "Not really, otherwise he would be here, wouldn't he?"
The officers asked her repeatedly about how Hamzah died.
She said she tried heart message for about 10 minutes.
"I picked him up and cried," she said. "I held him for a long time and then put him in his cot."
Hutton told officers how she put his Iggle Piggle toy in with him.
She recalled that the night before his death, her son said to her "I love you, mum. Are you alright, mum?" as she stroked his head.
She said she did not sleep in the bedroom after that day and started to drink heavily - a litre of vodka a day.
Hutton said that before Hamzah's death everything at the house was "normal - perfect, really".
She said her home was "spotless" until her son died.
The jury was told calls were made to Pizza Hut and the Spicy Delight takeaway in the hours after Hamzah's death.
The court also heard Hutton continued to claim Hamzah's child benefit after his death.