A British couple were jailed on Wednesday for manslaughter after their disabled 16-year-old daughter died at home suffering from morbid obesity in utter squalor at a time of Covid curbs.
Kaylea Titford was found dead in October 2020 at her home in Wales, weighing 321 pounds (146 kilogrammes) and lying on soiled toilet pads made for house-training puppies.
The trial highlighted that Kaylea had dropped out of school when Wales and the rest of the UK entered the first coronavirus lockdown in March 2020, but social services failed to check on her.
She suffered “a long and sustained period of criminal negligence” at the hands of her parents, judge Martin Griffiths ruled in Swansea Crown Court, calling it a “horrifying case”.
Her father Alun Titford, a 45-year-old removals worker, was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence, after pleading not guilty. He was jailed for seven years and six months.
Her mother, Sarah Lloyd-Jones, 40, had pleaded guilty to the charge last year. She was imprisoned for six years.
Kaylea, who had hydrocephalus and spina bifida, had outgrown her wheelchair, but the parents ignored the stench as her body “rotted away alive” from ulcers, the judge found.
Spina bifida is a condition that develops in the womb, causing spinal and neurological problems. It can also cause hydrocephalus, or a build-up of fluid on the brain.
“By the time of her death, she was lying in her own filth, surrounded by flies which bothered her and maggots which fed on her,” Griffiths said.
– ‘Leave no stone unturned’ –
Titford told the court he did nothing to take care of his daughter, saying, “I’m lazy”. He said he had stopped her physical care after she reached puberty.
Despite his not-guilty plea, he later acknowledged in court that he was equally responsible for his daughter’s death.
In the hours before her death, Titford heard his daughter screaming, but he responded only to text her mobile phone to demand she stop.
“He did not go and see what the matter was or get whatever help she needed,” the judge said. “She was left to die alone.”
Kaylea had attended mainstream school until the first coronavirus lockdown. Police said she had been a talented wheelchair basketball player and popular with her peers.
The case highlighted a lack of oversight by authorities, both before and during lockdowns. Kaylea had not been seen for years by social workers, and had stopped going to dieticians and physiotherapists.
The case material was deemed so distressing by the judge that he exempted jury members from serving again for 10 years.
“People will be asking how any child in our society could suffer like this without anyone intervening to prevent such a tragedy,” the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in Wales said.
The charity noted that authorities were reviewing the case, and urged them to “leave no stone unturned” in ensuring that other children do not suffer the same fate.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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