A mother and father who left their morbidly obese daughter in bed-ridden squalor have been jailed for gross negligence manslaughter.
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 parents, Sarah Lloyd-Jones, 40, was imprisoned for six years, while her father, Alun Titford, 45, was told he would spend seven years and six months behind bars.
Swansea Crown Court heard 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.
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 en-suite bathroom.
The family would live off takeaways four or five nights a week and had spent over £1,000 on meals in the months leading up to her death.
Titford, who had denied manslaughter by gross negligence, told his trial he had let his daughter down so badly because he was “lazy” – leaving his partner to look after her.
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.”
Lewis Power KC, representing Lloyd-Jones, said she became “overwhelmed” during the lockdown.
“It escalated to the horrendous situation where she withdrew from her everyday responsibilities and led the catastrophic outcome,” he said.
“She accepts she neglected her duties of looking after her daughter.”
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.
“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,” he added.
Passing sentence, 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 (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 judge, who described Kaylea’s prolonged neglect as a “horrifying case”, went on: “By the time of her death, she was lying in her own filth, surrounded by flies which bothered her and maggots which fed on her.
“Her flesh was disfigured by ulcers which left her skin open down to the fat and in one place down to the bone.
“The stench created as her body rotted away alive, and from the excrement left to dry unattended around and on her body, and in the room, made paramedic and police officers of long experience retch and feel physically sick when they attended on the body.
Speaking afterwards, Detective Chief Inspector Jon Rees, of Dyfed-Powys Police, described the investigation as “traumatic and difficult”.
The teenager’s family said they were “incredibly saddened” by her death.
Powys County Council said a child practice review would be carried out.