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Mother guilty of killing Hamzah, 4
A jury at Bradford Crown Court has retired to consider its verdict in the case of Amanda Hutton, who is accused of starving her four-year-old son, Hamzah Khan, to death
A mother of eight has been found guilty of killing her four-year-old son by starving him to death.
Amanda Hutton, 43, showed no emotion as she was convicted of manslaughter by a jury at Bradford Crown Court.
The court heard that Hamzah's mummified body was found in Hutton's Bradford bedroom almost two years after he died in December 2009.
The foreman of the jury made clear that they had convicted her on the basis that she was grossly negligent by not providing adequate nourishment for Hamzah.
Jurors returned their verdict to a packed court three after almost five hours of deliberations.
Hutton was remanded in custody and will be sentenced tomorrow by Judge Roger Thomas QC.
Hutton, 43, denied killing Hamzah, whose decomposed and insect-infested body was found in a travel cot in her bedroom.
A two-week trial heard that his remains had been in the cot for almost two years when they were found by police searching the house on September 21 2011.
The little boy had died on December 15 2009.
The jury has heard that Hamzah's body was found in the house in the Heaton area of the city in terrible squalor, where five other school-aged siblings were living.
Hutton has admitted a charge of child cruelty in respect of each of these children, who were aged between five and 13 in 2011.
Prosecutors told the jury of eight men and four women that Hamzah most probably died from malnutrition because Hutton neglected him as she concentrated on her alcohol addiction.
The jury found she starved her son to death.
But Hutton told the court that she struggled to get her son to eat and he died suddenly. She claimed she never sought medical advice because she thought he was going through a phase and would grow out of it.
Hutton panicked after his death and only kept claiming child benefit for Hamzah because she was worried that, if she stopped, his body would be discovered.
She also said she was worried the other children would be taken away if Hamzah's death was discovered.
Hutton has also admitted a charge of preventing the burial of a corpse, along with her eldest son, Tariq, 24.
Tariq will also be sentenced tomorrow.
Speaking outside court, Malcolm Taylor, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This was a truly tragic case involving the death of a little boy, Hamzah Khan, whose body, showing signs of extreme malnutrition, was discovered amidst scenes of the most appalling squalor at the family home in Bradford.
"It is likely his body had lain undiscovered for the best part of two years.
"It is heart-breaking to contemplate the suffering Hamzah must have endured.
"This horrific crime was compounded by the failure of either Amanda Hutton or Tariq Khan to arrange the burial of Hamzah's body."
Mr Taylor said: "Our thoughts remain with the rest of Hamzah's family in the hope that they can now start to rebuild their lives."
Professor Nick Frost, independent chair of Bradford Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB), said: "This is a tragic case for everyone involved.
"BSCB initiated a serious case review following the discovery of Hamzah's body and the report will be published after the court, coronial and other necessary procedures are completed.
"The main aim of the report is to make sure all agencies involved learn lessons and change working practices where necessary.
"However, given the refusal of all offers of help that would be offered to any mother and the lack of serious concerns raised from any other source, there was limited involvement from statutory agencies."
Ralph Berry, Bradford Council's executive member for children and young people, said: "Hamzah's death is a dreadful tragedy which has shocked and appalled local people.
"We welcome the serious case review and its public examination of the circumstances of Hamzah's death. Serious case reviews lead to learning and action to make children safer, in our district and across the country.
"The serious case review will be published following the completion of all legal processes and at that stage we can comment further."
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: "This is a stark reminder that neglect is a form of child abuse as harmful as physical abuse and, as in this case, can result in a child fatality.
"Fortunately, this type of extreme case is quite rare but we do know that almost one in 10 children in the UK are neglected by their parents or carers.
"It is self-evident that something went seriously wrong for this child. It appears Hamzah disappeared off the radar of his community and services, and a full picture of the horror that was his life emerged two years too late."
Head of safeguarding at Action for Children Shaun Kelly said: "Hamzah's is yet another tragic story of a child who was invisible to society and died at the hands of a parent.
"School teachers, police officers, social workers and health visitors have told us about the barriers they face when they want to help a child that they suspect is being neglected. It seems that people are so afraid of doing the wrong thing that they don't do anything at all and it all adds up to a systemic failure to protect the most vulnerable.
"More support for professionals who work with children is vital. When speaking with families, they can't take what is being said at face value, they must trust their instincts and escalate their concerns.
"They need to be allowed to be braver, to push harder by being persistent and take action to protect a child, or child neglect will continue to kill."