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Parents’ jail terms for manslaughter of disabled teenage daughter to be reviewed

18 May 2023 4 minute read
Alun Titford (L) and Sarah Lloyd-Jones. Photo Heddlu Dyfed Powys

A mother and father who left their morbidly obese daughter in bed-ridden squalor will have their jail terms for gross negligence manslaughter reviewed by the Court of Appeal.

Kaylea Titford, 16, was found in conditions described as “unfit for any animal”, in soiled clothing and bed linen, following her death at the family home in Newtown, Powys, in October 2020.

Her mother Sarah Lloyd-Jones, 40, was jailed for six years, while her father, Alun Titford, 45, was told he would spend seven years and six months behind bars in March.

Lawyers representing the Attorney General’s Office will argue at a hearing in London on Friday that their sentences were “unduly lenient” and should be increased.

Titford, who had denied manslaughter by gross negligence, told jurors during his trial he had let his daughter down so badly because he was “lazy” – leaving his partner to look after her.

Care worker Lloyd-Jones, who had six children with Titford, had previously admitted the same charge.

She sent messages to him begging for help, telling him in one: “I’m absolutely exhausted, I can’t cope working and doing everything… all I’ve done is cry all day. I need you to help me.”

Pleading for help

Swansea Crown Court heard during Titford’s trial that the teenager weighed 22st 13lb, with a BMI of 70, at the time of her death in October 2020.

Kaylea, who had spina bifida and used a wheelchair, died after suffering inflammation and infection from ulceration, arising from obesity and immobility.

In her last hours, as she lay screaming in bed, her father texted her twice telling her to stop but did not go and see her.

Kaylea had also sent a series of text messages to her mother pleading for help to clean the weeping sores on her legs and get rid of the flies landing on her, Lloyd-Jones replied: “For f*** sake.”

Emergency service workers, who were called to the house after she was found dead, described feeling sick due to a “rotting” smell in her room, while maggots were feeding on her body.

The teenager’s specially adapted room was dirty and cluttered, with bottles of urine near her bed and dog faeces in the ensuite bathroom.

The family would live off takeaways four or five nights a week and had spent more than £1,000 on meals in the months leading up to her death.

Lewis Power KC, representing Lloyd-Jones, said she became “overwhelmed” during the lockdown.

David Elias KC, representing Titford, said the removals worker worked 50 hours a week and claimed the family had been let down by the authorities – with Kaylea last been seen by a social worker at home in 2017.

Prolonged neglect

Passing sentence last month, Mr Justice Griffiths said the pair had committed “shocking and prolonged neglect over lockdown” but rejected the claim the family had been ignored by the authorities.

“By the end, they were not accessing or accepting any significant help at all for Kaylea,” he said.

“But this was not for reasons beyond their control. It was part of their gross negligence towards the wellbeing of their daughter.”

He said both were equally to blame for the appalling living conditions their daughter found herself.

“He (Titford) 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,” he said.

“He liked working – he did not like helping – and he was as he freely accepted too lazy to help.

“Equally, I do not accept that Sarah Lloyd-Jones can throw the blame onto 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 Court of Appeal hearing, before Lord Justice Popplewell and two other senior judges, is due to start at 10am.

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