How did a boy starve to death in 21st century England?

Amanda Hutton was convicted of manslaughter today at Bradford Crown Court. Photo: Police Handout

In his opening statement the prosecutor asked: "How had a child starved to death in 21st century England?"

Today's guilty verdict in Amanda Hutton's manslaughter trial provides an answer.

Hamzah's mother failed in her duty to feed and care for her son and that is how she killed him.

"Amanda Hutton alone is responsible for his death," said the policewoman in charge of the investigation.

But the case does raise wider questions and concerns about the role of those involved in child protection in Bradford.

So much so that Bradford Safeguarding Children’s Board is currently conducting a Serious Case Review into the case. No doubt asking if opportunities to intervene and rescue Hamzah from his mother were missed.

Amanda Hutton cut a pathetic and miserable figure in court; too drunk to take the witness stand on Monday. She was the victim of years of domestic abuse from her partner, Hamzah's father.

Police visited her home eight times during Hamzah's short life to investigate incidences of domestic violence, and one question that their frequent visits raises is: Was information police had about the family shared sufficiently with social workers and doctors?

Amanda Hutton's home in which her son - four-year-old Hamzah - died.

They knew for example that Hamzah's mother was often drunk, his father violent and that Hamzah was in the house, but the court heard no record of any subsequent visits where social workers gained access.

Health visitors also made frequent visits to the house but were usually turned away or not even acknowledged by Hutton at the door, and as health visitors have no statutory rights, there was little they could do except inform others who did of their concerns.

The court was told that there were three multi-agency meetings to discuss Amanda Hutton and her family - none within the last months of his life when he appears to have fallen off their radar.

Amanda Hutton arrives at Bradford Crown Court. Credit: Press Association

Hamzah was never taken to the doctor by his mother for his childhood injections; he didn't go to school when he turned four. But no-one seemed to notice enough to force his mother to engage with a system there to ask questions and help her.

"She just wouldn't open the front door to anyone by the end," her next door neighbour told me.

And no one, it seems, had enough concerns about what was going on behind the door to force her to. Perhaps everyone knew a little, no one person enough.

It took a rookie community police community support officer, Jodie Dunsmore, to make Hutton open the door. Such was her instinct that something was wrong that she had threatened to break it down on her seventh visit - if she didn't.

Amanda Hutton told the court by that point she was relieved her awful secret had been discovered. But by then it was too late for Hamzah.

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