Monday, 27 Mar 2023

Parents who killed daughter through neglect in lockdown are jailed

Parents who left their 23-stone disabled daughter to die in her own filth are jailed for total of 13 years as court hears child, 16, begged mother to clean her ‘leaking legs’ and screamed for help but her father text telling her to ‘shut up’ instead

  • Kaylea Titford, 16, ‘lived and died in squalor and degradation’, a court heard
  • Alun Titford, 45, found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence after a trial
  • Her mother, Sarah Lloyd-Jones, 39, previously admitted the same charge

The parents of Kaylea Titford were today jailed for more than 13 years combined for killing the disabled teenager through neglect after allowing her to become morbidly obese in lockdown.

The court heard how the 16-year-old, who had spina bifida, begged her mother to clean her ‘leaking legs’ in a maggot-infested bedroom but was refused help.

Her weight grew to 23st during the pandemic and she was found dead sitting up in her ‘severely soiled’ bed in October 2020.

The couple left Kaylea alone in her adapted room, which contained a soiled mattress, bottles of urine and a chip fryer with drips of fat down the side. 

After being convicted of manslaughter, her mother Sarah Lloyd-Jones, 39, was sentenced to six years in prison, while her father Alun Titford, 45, will spend seven-and-a-half years behind bars. 

Alun Titford, 45, and Sarah Lloyd-Jones, 39, arriving at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing

Kaylea died after suffering inflammation and infection from ulceration, arising from obesity and immobility

The bedroom of Kaylea Titford. Her room was said to be dirty and cluttered, with bottles of urine and a chip fryer with drips of fat down the side, as well as a full cake in a box

Sarah Lloyd-Jones (left) was jailed for six years and Alun Titford (right) for seven-and-a-half

Passing sentence at Swansea Crown Court, Mr Justice Griffiths said they had committed ‘shocking and prolonged neglect over lockdown’.

‘(Kaylea) would not allow people so much as to push her wheelchair or open a door for her. Everything she could do for herself, she did,’ the judge said.

‘But she died just after her 16th birthday.

‘You, Sarah Lloyd-Jones, her mother, and you, Alun Titford, her father, caused her death by shocking and prolonged neglect over lockdown.

‘Which you, by your guilty plea, Sarah Lloyd-Jones, and the jury by a unanimous verdict, Alun Titford, have proved to be gross negligence manslaughter on your part.

‘For those crimes, I now pass sentence.’

It was the first sentencing hearing in Wales to be filmed since the law was changed to allow cameras into crown courts last year. 

Mr Justice Griffiths rejected the assertion that Kaylea Titford had been let down by various agencies, saying that professionals had worked with the family over many years.

‘There was a history of missed appointments,’ he said.

‘Some of these ended the provision of relevant services because professionals took the view that there was no point in scheduling appointments which were not being attended.

‘Both defendants were aware that help was available from a variety of agencies, but they did not make full use of that help as time went on.

‘By the end, they were not accessing or accepting any significant help at all for Kaylea.

‘The whole burden of looking after her therefore fell on them. But this was not for reasons beyond their control. It was part of their gross negligence towards the wellbeing of their daughter.’

The jury was shown an image of the bed used by Kaylea Titford

Another image shown in court as part of Titford’s trial showed a fly paper hanging in Kaylea Titford’s bedroom 

She weighed 22 stone and 13 lbs, with a body mass index of 70, when she was found dead in October 2020 at her home in Newtown, Powys, Wales. Pictured: Items found in Kaylea’s room)

The court heard the pair splashed out more than £1,000 on takeaways and fizzy drinks in the three months before their daughter’s death while failing to keep her clean. 

Prosecutor Caroline Rees KC said Kaylea sent a series of tragic messages to her mother, who worked as a carer, as she pleaded for help to clean her ‘leaking legs’ and to get rid of ‘baby flies’ landing on her. 

Swansea Crown Court heard Kaylea repeatedly told her mother she was concerned about her legs – but Lloyd-Jones replied: ‘For f*** sake.’

One message sent on September 12, 2020, just one month before her body was found – showed Kaylea saying to her mum: ‘My leg is leaking.’ Her mother replied: ‘For f*** sake, hang on’ before Kaylea pleaded: ‘No mum, it’s leaking.’

The court heard Kaylea also messaged her mother just two weeks before her death to plead for help getting rid of flies in her room.

She said: ‘It’s little baby ones landing on me’ while her mother replied: ‘They like you lol.’

Mr Justice Griffiths rejected Alun Titford’s claim that he thought Sarah Lloyd-Jones was looking after their daughter ‘well enough on her own’.

‘It was obvious that she was failing. He did not need to look at her legs to see that,’ the judge said.

‘He would go into Kaylea’s s room from time to time, as he did on her birthday and when he got back from work on other days. He ignored the smell and the dirt and the flies and the chaos, and the evidence of his own eyes and nose that she was not getting the care she needed.

‘There are texts in which Sarah Lloyd-Jones begged for his help – he didn’t give any help. His long hours at work are not an excuse. He liked working – he did not like helping – and he was, as he freely accepted, too lazy to help.

‘He expressed some scruples about getting involved in the personal care of a daughter who had reached puberty, but his neglect was total and he could and should have done more to help and ask others for help. Instead, when he was not at work, he sat in his bedroom upstairs watching television.

‘Equally, I do not accept that Sarah Lloyd-Jones can throw the blame on to her husband. It was too much for her to do on her own, that I do accept, but it was her duty to ask for help and to accept it from the agencies which over the years she sometimes ignored or turned away.’

The 16-year-old was tragically found lying in soiled clothing and bed linen after she had passed away

 The court heard her mother, Sarah Lloyd-Jones, who had six children with Titford, had pleaded guilty to gross negligence manslaughter 

 In a closing speech at Mold Crown Court on Friday, David Elias KC, defending, said the jury had heard evidence there should have been more support for Kaylea

In opening submissions during the sentencing, Caroline Rees KC, prosecuting, said that by the time of her death, Kaylea was ‘living in conditions unfit for any animal, let alone for a vulnerable 16-year-old girl who depended on others for her care’. 

‘Kaylea lived and died in squalor and degradation,’ the lawyer told the court.

She also told how Kaylea had not returned to school in Newtown since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, and had not seen a doctor for at least six months. 

‘Because of the lockdown, Kaylea’s exposure to those outside her family was extremely limited,’ Ms Rees told the court.

‘This allowed both defendants to avoid the scrutiny of the outside world.’

The teenager’s skin was ‘severely inflamed and ulcerated, so deeply in areas that the fat was exposed’ at the time of her death, the court heard.

Maggots were observed on her ‘filthy’ body that were said to have been there ‘in life, as well as death’, Ms Rees said.

Ms Rees said that when the teenager was moved from where she had died: ‘Police officers then observed her bed and saw maggots in various stages of development crawling over the bed.’

In the months before her death, Kaylea was bedbound and had ‘not used the toilet or shower since before lockdown’, she continued. 

‘During the last months of her life she was bedbound, eating, sleeping and defecating in her own bed.’

Ms Rees said that as Kaylea’s condition worsened, the family’s expenditure on takeaways increased, with them spending more than £1,000 in the three months before her death.

The teenager weighed 22st 13lb with a BMI of 70 at the time of her death.

Lloyd-Jones admitted manslaughter by gross negligence last year, while Titford denied the charges and was found guilty after a trial last month.

A jury convicted Titford after being shown pictures during the trial at Mold Crown Court in North Wales of the squalor Kaylea had been forced to endure.

The evidence showed how the teenager, who had been wheelchair-bound and dependent on others for her care, was left to lie in soiled clothing and on filthy bed linen and puppy training pads.

She died after suffering inflammation and infection from ulcerations caused by obesity and immobility.

Emergency service workers, who were called to the house on October 10, described feeling sick due to an ‘unbearable’ rotting smell in her room.

A fly on the bed used by Kaylea Titford. Alun Titford, 45, is accused of the manslaughter of his disabled 16-year-old daughter

The jury was presented with evidence, including images from the inside of her home where she was found dead in Newport, Powys, Wales in October 2020

The jury was shown an image of the bathroom at the home of Kaylea Titford

The jury has been shown images and body-worn footage of Kaylea’s living conditions, including her bedroom

When her body was examined, maggots were found which were thought to have been feeding on her body in the final days of her life.

Titford claimed at trial that Lloyd-Jones was responsible for Kaylea’s care, and when he was asked why he had let his daughter down so badly, the removals worker said: ‘I’m lazy.’

READ MORE: Pictured: Inside squalid home where disabled 16-year-old died weighing nearly 23 stone and the soiled bed where she was left to lay in her own filth

Kaylea attended Newtown High School, where she was described by staff as ‘funny and chatty’, but she did not return after the Covid lockdown in March 2020.

During Titford’s trial, the jury was presented with evidence including images and body-cam footage from the inside of Kaylea’s Newport home.

They showed a cluttered and dirty interior of the home which contained soiled clothing, a bottle of urine, a catheter on the floor, and bug infestations.

A police officer filming the body-cam footage inside Kaylea’s bedroom can be heard retching as he captured the state of her living conditions.

The prosecution described the conditions as ‘squalor and degradation’.

Lloyd-Jones, who had six children with Titford, pleaded guilty to gross negligence manslaughter last year. 

The court heard Kaylea’s mother was responsible for most of her care after she reached puberty, as Titford said he stepped back because he was not ‘comfortable’.

Her father, Titford, of Colwyn, Newtown, was a full-time removal worker, working 40 to 50 hours a week and 15 days straight before Kaylea’s death.

He denied the charges and was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter last month after a trial.

It is the first hearing in Wales to be filmed since the law was changed to allow cameras into criminal courts for the first time last year.

An NSPCC Cymru spokesperson said: ‘This is an incredibly distressing case.

‘The conscious, prolonged neglect of Kaylea Titford by her parents, Sarah Lloyd-Jones and Alun Titford, ultimately caused the teenager’s death.

‘People will be asking how any child in our society could suffer like this without anyone intervening to prevent such a tragedy.

‘The forthcoming Child Safeguarding Practice Review must leave no stone unturned in establishing what more could have been done to protect Kaylea so other children do not suffer such appalling neglect unnoticed.’

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