Hamzah's father: ‘I was turned away when I tried to get help for my son' (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Boy's father insists he made a call to social services over son’s welfare
The father of a boy whose mummified body was found in a cot nearly two years after he had died has insisted to a jury that he had reported his concerns about his son’s welfare to social services.
The body of Hamzah Khan, four, was found at a Bradford house where he lived with his mother Amanda Hutton, 43, who has denied his manslaughter.
Giving evidence at Bradford Crown Court yesterday Hamzah’s father, Aftab Khan, said he contacted social services once about the condition of Hamzah but said he was ignored.
The jury has earlier heard how, when Mr Khan was arrested for attacking Hutton in 2008, he told police he was going to contact social services about his son.
A senior police officer told the court there was no record he ever made the call.
Yesterday, Paul Greaney QC, prosecuting, asked Khan whether he did contact social services.
Mr Khan said: “I remember ringing social services up. They said it was a private matter. Social services are never bothered about cases like this.”
Pressed by Mr Greaney, he said: “I clearly remember. There’s no record of it.
“They weren’t bothered, they weren’t interested. I’d given up at that time.”
Mr Khan rejected claims in court that he was a “wife batterer”.
Stephen Meadowcroft QC, defending Hutton, asked him: “You were a wife batterer and she was a battered wife, cowed by your violence.”
Mr Khan, a mechanic and taxi driver, said: “If I was a wife batterer why am I not standing next to her (Hutton)?”
Mr Meadowcroft: “Perhaps you ought to be.”
The defence barrister put it to Mr Khan that he had been violent towards his client throughout their 20-year relationship, but he denied this.
“I’ve come here to answer questions about my child,” Mr Khan said.
“Everyone knows what happened. You’ve got damning evidence against Miss Hutton but you’re still trying to point the finger at me. I’m not having it.”
Mr Khan repeatedly insisted that he tried to alert police and social services to his son’s plight but was not listened to.
He said: “A year down the line, what happened? A child died.”
Mr Khan was asked again about the call he said he made to social services.
He said: “This country is run for women. A man’s got no rights in this country.”
Mr Meadowcroft told him: £You were the father of the family. You were there. Had you actually thought that (Hamzah’s neglect)? What did you do about it?”
Mr Khan told the court: “The police wouldn’t believe me. No-one would believe me.
“I know I made one phone call. If the police weren’t going to believe me, who else is going to believe me? I gave up.
“The system failed my son. Did the school check up? Did social services check up? I lost my total confidence in the system.”
Mr Khan said he even helped Hutton before the court case, giving her money to buy clothes for the trial.
“I’ve helped her a lot. If I was a violent man, I wouldn’t have helped.”
He told the court: “She’s done it all. Put me on one side. You’ve got so much evidence against her it’s unbelievable.”
Hamzah’s body was discovered in a cot in Hutton’s Bradford home in September 2011. The jury has heard how he had died almost two years earlier, in December 2009.
Mr Khan told the court how he had separated from Hutton after he was charged with assaulting her. He said he was initially stopped from visiting Hutton due to a court order but did start to go and see his son when they moved to a new home in Bradford in March 2009.
Mr Khan told the jury his former partner was not looking after Hamzah properly.
“I said ‘look at the state of him – you’re not looking after him” and she told me to get out,” he said.
He told the court that it was his concerns about his son that had led to the arguments resulting in his arrest in 2008 and eventual conviction for battery.
He said: “She wasn’t bathing him. She wasn’t changing him.”
And Mr Khan said he would only see Hutton feeding Hamzah milk. He said his former partner drank cider and vodka heavily, especially after the death of her mother.
“She’d be absolutely out of it,” he said.
Hutton, now of Farcliffe Road, Girlington, sat in the dock dressed in black, watching Mr Khan give his evidence.
Another witness, Deepinder Kaur, told the court Hamzah was small and did not eat very much in the months before his death.
Miss Kaur, 24, a former girlfriend of Hutton’s son Qaiser, 22, said the boy would eat half a cheese and onion pasty in the evening and half a banana in the morning.
She said that during the day he would eat “biscuits or whatever’s lying around”.
Miss Kaur said that despite being nearly four at the time, in February 2009, “he looked like a baby” and would often wear a baby-grow.
“He was very light,” she said. “He didn’t weigh much.”
Asked where Hamzah spent his days, Miss Kaur said he was either in front of the TV in the living room or locked in a bedroom with the light turned off.
Asked whether Hutton explained why he was locked upstairs, she said: “She said it was because he’d been naughty. But she didn’t say exactly what he’d done.”
PC Maria Furness, of West Yorkshire Police, told the jury she attended Hutton’s house to perform a welfare check but found Hamzah to be “fed well, clean, healthy looking and there was an appropriate adult in the address”.
The officer said that appropriate adult was Tariq, Hamzah’s brother, who told her he was his uncle.
PC Furness said she was at the house for about 30 to 45 minutes when she made the visit about eight months before Hamzah’s death.
The trial continues.