POLICE officers called to numerous domestic violence incidents at Amanda Hutton’s home never saw anything to concern them about Hamzah Khan and always kept social services informed, the senior detective who led the investigation has said.
Detective Superintendent Lisa Griffin, of West Yorkshire Police, said the “heart-breaking” case was the worst she had seen during 28 years in the police service.
She said she had never seen such “appalling” conditions as those inside the house in Bradford when the body of four-year-old Hamzah was discovered in September 2011.
Ms Griffin confirmed that, in the years before Hamzah’s death, officers supported Hutton through her problems with her violent partner, Aftab Khan.
“She was a vulnerable woman who needed our help and support,” the officer said.
“Whenever she made the contact with police then she got a positive response. Police officers were there to support and engage with her and that resulted in a conviction of her partner for assault upon her.
“Each time we engaged with Amanda, we referred the matter through to the social services department because we knew that there were children within the family.”
“When we dealt with the incidents of domestic violence, no, we did not have concerns about the care of the children,” she added.
“But we did make the referrals through to social services. She had a number of children and we wanted to ensure that she had the support that she needed.”
She said a welfare check had been conducted at Hutton’s home in April 2009 after police were called due to a matter unrelated to domestic violence.
“In April 2009, we were called due to a matter unrelated to the domestic violence.
“On that occasion we made a welfare check at the home address. The condition of the house was checked and the children were all presented to the police officer who attended and they all seemed to be fit and well, the house was clean and presentable.”
She said there were no alarm bells ringing at that stage.
“The home environment appeared perfectly adequate and the children appeared in good health.
“That said, police officers are not health professionals, they make an assessment based on their own professional judgment and there were no concerns at that time.
“As we know, Hamzah died a matter of eight months later. There was clearly a very significant deterioration in Amanda’s ability to care for her children.”
Ms Griffin said there was clearly a significant deterioration in the house in the eight months between the police visit and Hamzah’s death.
“There was no involvement with the police between April (2009) and the discovery of his body in the September of 2011,” she added.
She said the conditions in the house had gone from being “presentable” to being “absolutely squalid” at the time Hamzah’s body was discovered.
Ms Griffin said: “Amanda Hutton had many opportunities to accept the support that was offered to her and many opportunities to engage with the professionals that are there to support her and her family, and she chose not to.
“She was obstructive, she was difficult and she failed in her ability to parent that child, to look after his basic needs, and sadly he died in the most difficult of circumstances.
“I can only imagine the pain and the suffering that that child endured.
“I can say that, in my 28 years of the policing service, we have never seen anything quite as appalling as the conditions in which those children were living at the time Hamzah’s body was discovered.”
The officer said Hutton had gone to some lengths to obstruct agencies who went to help her.
“Amanda has presented as an obstructive person who has gone to great lengths to conceal the death of her child and has been obstructive to police officers and all the other services on a number of occasions,” she said.
“There is a whole catalogue of difficult interactions with her, where she has refused access to all the agencies at some time or other.”
She went on: “It has been a very harrowing investigation - officers and the public alike have found it emotionally very difficult. It has been a very long, protracted investigation for all the necessary reasons. It has been difficult. I have never seen anything like it in my 28 years in the service. It is heart-breaking and nothing short of that.”
Ms Griffin said the ultimate responsibility for the care and welfare of Hamzah lay with Hutton and “clearly she failed in that”.
She added: “As a mother myself, I find that appalling that she should have allowed this set of circumstances to play out as it did and for that poor child to suffer in the way that he clearly did.”