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Friday 19 January 2018

Mum of mummified boy (4) says 'he starved himself', court told

Amanda Hutton leaving Bradford Crown Court
Amanda Hutton leaving Bradford Crown Court

A mother accused of killing her under-nourished four-year-old son told detectives it was not her who starved him because "he would starve himself", a court has heard.

A jury was played police interviews with Amanda Hutton in which she explained how she panicked when Hamzah Khan died in her arms after he became ill following months of failing to eat properly.

Bradford Crown Court has heard how Hamzah's body was discovered in a travel cot in Hutton's bedroom, in the city, almost two years after he died in December 2009.

Prosecutors claim Hamzah starved to death due to the defendant's neglect.

But, in the police interviews, Hutton, 43, described the problems she had getting the youngster to eat and admitted he lived on a diet of bananas and milk for the last few months of his life.

"I was worried about him," she told the officers.

"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."

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."

And she told the police: "He was given an adequate diet but he wouldn't eat it."

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 her to come back because Hamzah's eyes were rolling back into his head.

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."

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 Igglepiggle 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 Hamzah died and started to drink heavily - a litre of vodka a day.

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 he died.

Earlier, acting Sergeant Richard Dove described how he found Hamzah's body when he was one of a number of police officers who went into Hutton's house in September 2011.

He said he came across the body in the cot 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."

Sgt Dove said he made the discovery after going back into the bedroom for a second time.

He said: "I felt as though there was something wrong."

He said the boy was wearing a white baby-gro and his head was tilted towards the right hand side.

"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 denies manslaughter.

She sat in the dock today dressed all in black and got noticeably emotional during some of the evidence, wiping away tears with a handkerchief.

The case was adjourned until tomorrow.

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