Tragic boy’s short and terrible life among mountains of rotting debris

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AS Amanda Hutton’s addictions to cannabis and alcohol overwhelmed her, her children were neglected and little Hamzah suffered the most as he slowly starved to death.

These police photographs show the squalor and accumulated rubbish – knee-deep in places – seen by officers as they began to uncover the horrific truth about Hamzah’s slow decline and death.

Amanda Hutton's squalid kitchen

Amanda Hutton's squalid kitchen

Those who entered the house described the odour as vile and almost beyond description. The fridge was full of months-old food and empty vodka bottles were strewn around.

Hutton, a former care worker, claimed alcohol began dominating her life only after Hamzah had died in December 2009 but the prosecution told the jury she would sit in her bedroom drinking vodka as Hamzah “wasted away.”

Family and friends said Hutton’s heavy drinking dated back years, even before Hamzah was born.

The background to the chaotic family life stemmed from alcohol problems and her volatile relationship with Hamzah’s father Aftab Khan, whom she spilt from in December 2008 after an incident which led to Khan being convicted of assaulting her.

Hutton and her children then lived apart, eventually settling in a house in Heaton, Bradford, where Hamzah died.

It is not clear what happened in the months leading up to his death but medical experts said he had been starved of food over a long period of time, possibly years.

Hutton claimed she had problems getting Hamzah to eat, saying he was “fussy” but other children in the house said he was fed less than the others.

One of the youngsters told police that the day before Hamzah died he looked “absolutely appalling”, adding: “He looked really skinny, stick thin. He didn’t get fed much. He got fed a lot less than we did.”

The youngster said Hamzah only got one meal a day and had difficulty walking.

The child also told officers that Hutton vomited regularly and could not walk properly because of heavy drinking.

In the weeks before her son’s death, Hutton said she was feeding Hamzah just a nourishment-type drink to try to get his weight up.

One witness talked of him existing on bananas, milk and any other foods he could find in the house, while his older brother Qaiser, 22, said he had seen the tragic youngster eating the contents of his dirty nappy.

Hutton claimed she was not worried about Hamzah’s eating because two of her children had grown out of poor eating habits.

Even when Hamzah was ill the day before he died, she said she thought it was not serious enough to call for medical help and claimed he perked up the next morning.

On the day of Hamzah’s death Hutton went to a supermarket but was called back by son, Tariq, now 24, because something was wrong. She told the jury she returned to find Hamzah dead.

Detailed forensic evidence showed her son had suffered malnutrition and this most likely contributed “wholly or in part” to his death. When his body was found, it was in a baby-gro intended for a six to nine-month-old baby even though he was four-and-a-half.

Police had eventually located his mummified body beneath shoes, clothes and blankets in a travel cot in his mother’s bedroom.

Children’s beds were soaked in urine and there was rotting food in the fridge.

One of the first police officers who went into the house, Pc Jane Lax, said she was “overcome by emotion” by some of the things she saw, including the sight of two children dressed only in dirty nappies crawling up the stairs towards her.

Pc Lax recalled finding it difficult to cope with the sight of one child the house on their knees, rummaging through piles of rotting debris in a bedroom, preparing to leave the house with the officers.

She said there were emotional scenes when the remaining children were removed from the property. She remembered one giving Hutton a hug as she sat on her bed. Another of Hamzah’s siblings told police about trying to give Hamzah mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to keep him alive.

One told police how Hutton instructed them to tell people that Hamzah had gone to stay with his uncle in Portsmouth. Hutton told the jury it was a relief when she was arrested in September 2011 and Hamzah’s death was finally discovered.

Some neighbours told the jury of their shock when police came out of Hutton’s house with children they never knew existed.