Amanda Hutton trial latest: Boy had brittle bone disease caused by malnutrition, says pathologist (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Amanda Hutton trial latest: Boy had brittle bone disease caused by malnutrition, says pathologist
A four-year-old boy who lay dead in his cot for almost two years had brittle bone disease caused by malnutrition, a jury heard today.
Hamzah Khan’s thinning of the bones would have been present in life, home office pathologist Dr Matthew Lyall told Bradford Crown Court.
Dr Lyall was giving evidence from a pool of experts called in after Hamzah’s mummified body was found in a cot in his mother Amanda Hutton’s bedroom in September 2011.
Dr Lyall said he saw Hamzah’s body in the Bradford house on September 22, 2011, the day after it was discovered.
Dr Lyall said he went to the house with police officers and forensic anthropologist Dr Julie Roberts.
Hamzah’s body was in a travel cot in his mother’s bedroom.
It was beneath a duvet and a scenes of crime officer uncovered it.
“He was lying supine on his back and was accompanied by a soft toy which his right arm was encircling.
“He was clearly severely decomposed and in a condition which we refer to as mummified,” Dr Lyall said.
Hutton, 43, now of Farcliffe Road, Girlington, who denies Hamzah’s manslaughter dabbed her eyes in the dock while listening to the evidence.
Dr Lyall said there was abundant insect and fly material around.
He carried out the post mortem examination at Sheffield Children’s Hospital later that day.
X-rays of Hamzah’s body showed no fractures to his bones.
Hamzah, who was four-and-a-half, was clothed in a blue baby-gro for a baby aged six to nine months.
Dr Lyall said it was slightly too big for him.
He was also wearing a green T-shirt labelled for a child aged three to four.
“That was clearly too large, much too large,” said the doctor.
The skin of the face was rigid and leathery and there was mould on the body and obvious insect damage.
“The assessment was very difficult because a lot of the main organs could not be assessed,” Dr Lyall said.
It was not possible from a medical point of view to say what caused death.
Dr Lyall said a number of experts had been consulted and had discussed the case.
A bone expert had found brittle bone disease that would have been present in life and was in his opinion due to malnutrition.
The specialst’s conclusion was that Hamzah had profound osteoporosis caused by being malnourished.
Dr Lyall said that a defence expert agreed that there was osteoporosis but said it was not possible to exclude a primary medical condition as a cause of death.
Dr Lyall said that the mummification process would have made Hamzah’s body smaller.
He said it was not possible for him to give a cause of death.
But he told the jury: "Irrespective of the cause of malnutrition, I would expect a competent parent to recognise that there was severe growth retardation evident in this young child and to seek medical assistance."
The Crown’s case is that Hamzah starved to death.
Her defence case is that he died of natural causes.
The trial continues.