Wednesday 23 January 2019

Estranged father of young man (18) found in soiled nappy and weighing six stone gives evidence

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Dave Higgens

The estranged father of a 18-year-old man who died after he was found in an emaciated state in his home has told a jury he last saw his son looking pale and drawn six months before his death.

Leeds Crown Court has heard how Jordan Burling was found wearing a soiled nappy and weighing less than six stone in his house in the Farnley area of Leeds in June 2016.

Prosecutors said Jordan's condition was described by an expert as like the victim of a Second World War death camp.

Jordan's father, Steven Burling, 51, was giving evidence on Friday on the third day of the trial of Jordan's mother Dawn Cranston, 45, who is accused of manslaughter, along with his grandmother, Denise Cranston, 70, and his sister Abigail Burling, 25.

Shelf-stacker Mr Burling told the jury that he separated from Dawn Cranston when Jordan was in primary school and did not see his son again until he was in his mid-teens.

He said when they first met again he thought Jordan looked "healthy".

Mr Burling said: "He was quite tubby. It wasn't fat, fat. It wasn't obese. He was just sort of stockily built."

He told the court he last saw Jordan before Christmas 2015.

"He looked pale," Mr Burling said.

"He was drawn in a little bit. I asked him if he was alright. He said it must be something he's ate.

"He looked poorly."

Mr Burling told the jury: "He still looked a bit tubby when I saw him. He was just drawn in his face. There wasn't colour in his face."

The witness became visibly upset as he recalled his last meeting with his son at his home in the Seacroft area of Leeds.

He said he had difficulty recalling the details because "I put a brick wall in front. I can't really grieve".

Asked about Dawn Cranston's parenting in the years they were together, Mr Burling said she was "a good mum, a caring mum".

The jury has been told by prosecutors that "Jordan had been allowed to decay, to rot to death, by those closest to him, over a period of, at least, several weeks".

They told the court that an expert dietician had not seen this degree of malnutrition in 26 years of working in this area.

Despite paramedics spending around 50 minutes trying to revive him, Mr Burling died as a result of acute bronchopneumonia, the jury has been told.

A paramedic told the jury earlier this week how Dawn Cranston "did not seem to be bothered" by her son's death and a police officer said she reacted by asking how much his funeral would cost.

The jury has also heard how the remains of a baby boy were found in the house.

Prosecutors said it is not known whether the baby was stillborn.

They said Dawn Cranston has accepted responsibility for her part in concealing that baby and claim the incident reflects the defendant's "propensity for failing to care for children".

Dawn and Denise Cranston and Abigail Burling all deny manslaughter. They also deny an alternative count of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult.

Press Association

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