Mum accused of starving boy (4) to death after body found in cot
The mummified corpse of a four-year-old boy was found in a cot in his mother's bedroom almost two years after he starved to death, a jury has been told.
Hamzah Khan's body was still dressed in a baby-gro when police made the "dreadful discovery" at his house in Bradford, West Yorkshire, a court heard.
Details of how Hamzah's body was found in September 2011 were outlined when his mother Amanda Hutton went on trial at Bradford Crown Court.
Hutton (43), denies her son's manslaughter.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Paul Greaney told the jury that Hamzah died when he was four-and-a-half years old on December 15 2009.
But the barrister said his remains were found 21 months later in clothing intended for a baby aged six to nine months.
"Hamzah's growth had been stunted because he was malnourished over a lengthy period and that state of affairs resulted in his death.
"In short, he starved to death.
"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 after police community support officer Jodie Worsley spoke to Hutton and became concerned about the smell coming from her house.
Eventually, more police arrived and went inside.
"What they discovered disturbed even hardened officers," he said. Mr Greaney said the officers were faced with "conditions of squalor".
He told the jury: "Furthermore, within a cot in the bedroom of Amanda Hutton, a police officer named Richard Dove made a dreadful discovery.
"Within that cot, beneath other items, he found the mummified corpse of a child."
The prosecutor said Hutton was an abuser of alcohol and cannabis.
Mr Greaney said the jury will have to consider whether Hamzah, "became a secondary and less important consideration than those addictions".
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".
He 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.
The jury heard that Hamzah's father, Aftab Khan, was separated from Hutton and lived elsewhere.
Mr Greaney said there is evidence Mr Khan was violent towards the defendant.
The jury was told that Hutton ordered pizza within hours of her son's death and continued to claim child benefit for him.
Mr Greaney said Hutton told police that things deteriorated after her son's death and she began to drink a bottle of vodka a day.
He said that when Ms Worsley looked through the letterbox of the house "she could see nothing, but the smell from within made her gasp for breath".
Mr Greaney told the jury that 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 the 15th December." He told the jury they will hear from a number of experts who have been working with police to try and work out what happened to Hamzah.