Hoarder father, 93, and son guilty for leaving immobile woman to die in squalor

Father and son Ralph and Philip Burdett arriving at Leicester Crown Court Credit: PA

The hoarder father and brother of an immobile and vulnerable woman who was left with "dreadful" injuries have been convicted over her death.

Ralph Burdett, 93, was unanimously cleared of manslaughter of his daughter Julie Burdett, 61, but found guilty of the lesser offence by a jury at Leicester Crown Court.

Her brother, Philip, aged 59, was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter.

Ralph Burdett told the trial he had no idea his daughter, aged 61, was dying, and did not seek outside help because he "didn’t want to go against her wishes".

Jurors were told the body of Ms Burdett weighed only 4st 10lbs when paramedics were finally called to her Leicester home.

Prosecutors alleged the defendants, described in court as "extreme" hoarders, left Julie to suffer "dreadful" injuries "surrounded by filth and squalor" for around two weeks in January 2019, before she died of extreme ulcerations.

Julie was described in court as intelligent and articulate but she had developed a disease similar to multiple sclerosis by 1998, leaving her needing a wheelchair when she left the house.

Julie's brother Philip Burdett, aged 59, was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter Credit: PA

Julie Burdett weighed 4st 10lbs when paramedics were called, court hears

Adjourning the case for pre-sentence reports, Mr Justice Pepperall told the men the fact he was adjourning the case "implies no promise or indication as to the type of sentence that will be passed".

"All options remain available to the court," the judge said, before adding: "You have both been on unconditional bail throughout the proceedings and therefore I am going to extend your bail until that sentencing hearing."

Opening the case against the father and son last month, prosecutor Timothy Cray QC told the jury: "Parts of the evidence, at least at the start, are shocking and I’m afraid they might cause you feelings of disgust and even revulsion.

"The failures of care were basic."

"She died, I’m afraid, from dreadful injuries and surrounded by filth and squalor", court hears

He adds: "They did not move Julie, they did not clean her, they did not feed her properly and they did not call for medical or other help.

"Ultimately, the result of their neglect was that Julie died.

"She died, I’m afraid, from dreadful injuries and surrounded by filth and squalor, in the home she shared with the defendants, her own father and her own brother.

"On the face of it, Julie could have been saved by something as simple as one phone call to any of the medical professionals who had been caring for her for years, or to neighbours who were willing to help, saying that Julie was in serious decline and that they were struggling to cope."

Det Sgt Adrian Davies, of Leicestershire Police, said: "It was obvious that Julie's condition was deteriorating and both men failed to seek any help until after she died, ultimately when it was too late.

"They failed Julie when she needed them most, a failure which contributed to what can only be described as very prolonged and painful death."

Philip, 59, and Ralph Burdett, both of Oakside Crescent, Leicester, were granted unconditional bail and will be sentenced at a later date.