Mummified boy hidden in house of squalor for two years

The body of four-year-old Hamzah Khan was found in a travel cot two years after his death. Credit: Family Handout

For two years the mummified body of a four-year-old boy lay hidden in a travel cot under a pile of bedding, clothing and shoes, riddled with insects in his mother's squalid house.

Hamzah Khan's tiny corpse was only discovered after an inexperienced police community support officer (PCSO) noticed the "vile smell of filth" radiating from the home in September 2011.

The little boy, who had been allowed to starve to death by his mother Amanda Hutton in 2009, was found wearing a baby-gro intended for a baby aged six to nine months, and cuddling a teddy bear.

Amanda Hutton has been found guilty of the manslaughter of her four-year-old son Hamzah Khan. Credit: West Yorkshire Police

Dr Matthew Lyall, a Home Office pathologist called to the scene, told the jury that the malnourished child weighed just 1,950 grammes (4lb 5oz) and his collar bone and ribs were visible beneath the skin.

There were pupae cases and insects with flea eggs covering Hamzah's hands and heads, and maggots on his duvet.

Damon Green reports:

In the lead up to his death Hamzah only received one meal a day and looked "absolutely appalling", according to one witness.

Another said he had seen the "neglected" boy eating the contents of his own nappy and sleeping upright in a urine-soaked buggy that "stank".

Hutton, who drank heavily, consistently missed Hamzah's doctors appointments, failed to get him immunised and slammed the door in the face of repeated calls from health visitors.

The kitchen was ankle-deep in rubbish, including rotting food and vodka bottles. Credit: West Yorkshire Police

Tests after his death found Hamzah's bones were more like that of a child aged between 12 and 18 months and this showed "extreme stunting of growth".

His mother claimed Hamzah "would refuse point blank to eat" but the jury agreed with the prosecution that he was starved to death due to the defendent's neglect.

Piles of rubbish were found by officers in Amanda Hutton's living room. Credit: West Yorkshire Police

Jodie Dunsmore, who is now a police officer, was only on her second day as a full PCSO when she began investigating a neighbour's complaint about Hutton's house in 2011.

She told how she went back again and again, over a number of days, to knock on the door but got no reply.

Pc Dunsmore said she became even more suspicious when she noticed large quantities of flies on the window ledge and a terrible smell coming through the letter box.

She said that after at least five visits, she and a colleague threatened to kick in the door, despite having no such legal power as PCSOs.

The officer said that at that point Hutton opened the door but would not let her in.

One of the first police officers who went into the house that day told the court about the terrible state of the property.

A bedroom on the first floor of Amanda Hutton's house. Credit: West Yorkshire Police

Pc Jane Lax said she was "overcome by emotion" by some of the things she saw in the four-bed terraced house.

She described how she attempted to get to the cellar through the kitchen but was affected by the smell coming from ankle-deep rubbish, including rotting food and vodka bottles.

Acting Sergeant Richard Dove was one of a number of officers who went into the house and he found Hamzah's remains after he returned to Hutton's bedroom for a second time because he "felt as though there was something wrong".

The officer described 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".

Amanda Hutton claimed she panicked when Hamzah died in her arms after he became ill. Credit: PA Wire

Hutton claimed she panicked when Hamzah died in her arms after he became ill so she "put him in the cot until I could decide about what to do".

But she never did anything to alert the emergency services about her son's plight and even made calls to Pizza Hut and the Spicy Delight takeaway in the hours after his death. She then continued to claim his child benefit after he died.