Police officer tells of his shock at finding boy's mummified body (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Police officer tells of his shock at finding boy's mummified body
The police officer who found the mummified body of a child in a Bradford house told a jury he could not at first believe it was real.
Acting Sergeant Richard Dove said he was “transfixed” by the shocking discovery and his hand was shaking.
He told Bradford Crown Court yesterday he was looking round Amanda Hutton’s house on September 21, 2011, when he found the body of her son, Hamzah Khan, aged four, under blankets in a cot.
Sgt Dove said: “The first thing that struck me was the smell of the place. It was like rubbish mixed with sweat, mixed with urine.”
There was rubbish piled in the hallway and he could not open the sitting room door because it was so deep in rubbish, the court heard. Looking into the kitchen, he saw rubbish and vodka bottles.
At the top of the stairs was a pile of mouldy soiled nappies and there was rubbish on the landing.
Sgt Dove said the whole house smelled but he became acclimatised to it as he looked round.
“All the bedding was also soaked and wet with urine – I’ve never seen anything like it,” said the officer, who told the court he had been in the police force for 11 years.
The jury has heard that Hamzah had been dead in the cot for almost two years. Hutton, 43, now of Farcliffe Road, Girlington, Bradford, denies manslaughter.
Sgt Dove said he went back into the main bedroom while waiting for other officers to arrive.
“I felt as though there was something wrong and I did wonder to myself ‘What is a travel cot doing there?’” he told the jury.
“There was clothing and shoes and bedding all piled up in the cot and I started taking shoes and bedding off and working my way down through the layers.
“I saw the body of a small child that was Asian in origin. He was wearing a short-sleeved baby gro thing that was white.
“When I first looked I was shocked because I thought to myself ‘Is that real?’ Seeing what I have seen, sort of doubting myself.
“The thing that struck me was when I pulled the cover back, the skin from the child’s forehead was stuck to the blanket. It was like mummified and I saw the right hand. It was like a fibrous stump. It was all dried out. The child’s face looked mouldy.”
Sgt Dove continued: “I found myself shaking. My right hand started wobbling and I had to grab my hand to calm myself down. I was still in shock and then I went downstairs.”
Hutton told the police in interview that Hamzah was a fussy eater from birth but he liked bananas and she gave him nourishing drinks.
“He had not been starved. He starved himself. He would not eat. He refused point blank to eat,” she said. She said she had a “phobia” about doctors.
Hutton said Hamzah became ill the day before he died and she stayed up all night with him. The next day she went to a supermarket to talk to a chemist about Hamzah.
When he died, Hutton said: “I just panicked. I didn't know what to do. Panic really took over. I held him for quite a long time.
“I put him in the cot until I could think about what to do.
“I was completely, completely numb. As each day went by, I just found it harder and harder to do anything about it.”
The trial continues.