Parents jailed for more than 13 years after death of obese teen

A mother and father have been sentenced to a combined term of 13 years and six months in prison after the death of their morbidly obese daughter. Alun Titford and Sarah Lloyd-Jones were jailed at Swansea Crown Court for seven years and six months and six years respectively for the gross negligence manslaughter of their 16-year-old morbidly obese daughter Kaylea Titford. 

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.

Lloyd-Jones, 40, was imprisoned for six years while Titford, 45, was told he would spend seven years and six months behind bars.

Sentencing the couple the judge said it was “impossible” to say one was more to blame than the other.

Prosecutors told the court that the 16-year-old had not “used the toilet or the shower” in months” and paramedics who attended the scene said Kaylea was found “pale and cold” in “shocking” conditions which left them feeling “physically sick”.

The court heard that the body of Kaylea, who had spina bifida and used a wheelchair, weighed 22st 13lb with a BMI of 70 at the time of her death, was discovered in her bedroom. 

She had suffered inflammation and infection from ulceration, arising from obesity and immobility.

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

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

The judge said: “(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. 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.”

Judge Justice Griffiths branded it a “horrifying case of sustained neglect” on a “completely dependent bedridden, vulnerable disabled child at hands of own parents”.

He rejected Titford’s claim that he thought Lloyd-Jones was looking after their daughter “well enough on her own”.

He told the court” “It was obvious that she was failing. He did not need to look at her legs to see that. 

“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.” 

Emergency services who attended the scene said Kaylea was surrounded by several soiled incontinence pads around the room, including on the floor and around her legs.

Caroline Rees, KC, prosecuting described the conditions as “unfit for any animal” and “more like a dumping ground”. 

Swansea Crown Court heard Kaylea had been unable to move herself from her bed for many months before she died and had not used the shower or toilet since before the March lockdown that year.

The court heard that there were “junk food cartons”, and urine-filled plastic milk cartoons and that there were faeces on the bathroom floor.

They added that the smell of “rotting flesh” filled the room when they moved the teenager’s duvet and saw “live maggots wriggling” on the mattress when her body had been moved.

Ms Rees told the sentencing hearing on Wednesday: “By the time of her death, Kaylea Titford 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.”

Ms Rees said evidence from the trial demonstrated the “extreme nature of the neglect” Kaylea suffered, describing the last months of the teenager’s life as “horrendous”.

She told the court: “She was a severely disabled child, who needlessly had become bed-bound, trapped in appalling conditions surrounded by her own filth. 

“It was a rancid combination of urine, faeces and secretions from her own body, including her ulcerated limbs.

“It was in that environment that she spent every minute, of every day, for months.”

Ms Rees told the court that Kaylea’s toenails had not been cut “for at least six months” and “maggots and flies” were on and around her body. 

The couple have six children together with Titford saying the family would order takeaways four or five nights a week and he thought Kaylea had put on two or three stones since March.

Ms Rees told the court that both parents were “equally responsible” for Kaylea’s death saying the evidence from the trial demonstrates the “extreme nature of the neglect”. 

She said: “She was a severely disabled child, who needlessly had become bed-bound, trapped in appalling conditions surrounded by her own filth.

“It was a rancid combination of urine, faeces and secretions from her own body, including her ulcerated limbs.

“It was in that environment that she spent every minute, of every day, for months.”

Lewis Power KC, mitigating said Lloyd Jones suffered from “major depression” during lockdown, so was “no longer able to care for her daughter’s needs”. 

Mr Power told the court: “It escalated to the horrendous situation where she withdrew from her everyday responsibilities and led the catastrophic outcome.

“She accepts she neglected her duties of looking after her daughter.”

The court heard she sent messages to her husband begging him 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.”

David Alias, KC, representing Titford claimed he took a lesser role in Kaylea’s care. 

“This is a family with a man working for a removal company 50 hours a week on average and a woman looking after all the children and working as a carer in the community in the lockdown,” he said.

“A care package was needed and it should not have needed to be asked for it. They should have been offered it and were not.”

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