My horror at knowing I had been in house where Hamzah's body lay (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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My horror at knowing I had been in house where Hamzah's body lay
The stepfather of Amanda Hutton has told of his horror after discovering he had visited the house in Heaton, Bradford, while little Hamzah’s body lay upstairs, only days after his death.
Anthony Jackson, 75, called at Hutton’s house on Christmas Day, December 2009, with a card and present for her.
Unbeknown to him, four-year-old Hamzah had died ten days earlier and his body remained upstairs in a travel cot.
“No wonder she kept me in the kitchen,” Mr Jackson said in an exclusive interwiew with the Telegraph & Argus.
“She didn’t know I was calling. I was in the area so I called in. I was knocking for a while before I got an answer but eventually Amanda opened the door.
“To put it bluntly, she looked a sight. Her hair wasn’t combed, it was tangled and matted, and she had put on a hell of a lot of weight.
“She said ‘oh, hello’ and took me through to the kitchen. I was there for about an hour, but it was hard work talking to her. She seemed pleased that I had taken the trouble to go round but she had very little to say. I asked if she was having a nice Christmas but she just said she wasn’t happy.
“We didn’t seem to relate to anything and after a while I made an excuse to leave.
“I was in the kitchen all the time. I wasn’t given the option of going in any other room, and I wasn’t bothered.
“It was a bit cluttered, some pots could have done with being washed up and there was wet washing lying around, but it just looked like any other family house. There wasn’t any rubbish and there was nothing that concerned me.
“That was the last time I had contact with her. I next saw her on the TV going into court and she looked a different person.”
Mr Jackson revealed how Hutton had cared for him like a nurse as he recovered from an operation.
And he told how the once “typical teenager” who loved pop music, had become a dedicated and devoted mother to her first two children.
But Hutton’s drinking, which had started in her late teens, spiralled out of control as she endured an abusive relationship with Aftab Khan.
Mr Jackson, who now lives in Driffield, East Yorkshire, said “heads should roll” in authority over Hamzah’s death.
He met Hutton’s mother, Ann, in the early 1980s, when Hutton was 13. The couple married in 1986. Hutton had two elder brothers: Christopher, then in his 20s who served on the Ark Royal in the Falklands War; and Michael, who served in the Army.
Mr Jackson said his relationship with Hutton was difficult at first.
“I was somebody new. I was the interloper, a ‘him’. As time went on things began to get a lot better. It took about 18 months. What turned things around was after I learned that she loved the pop group Wham.
“I was working in Leeds and there were notices all over about Wham performing there. I bought a couple of tickets for her to go with her mum. I told her they were tickets for a chamber concert. She wasn’t very impressed, but when she realised it was really for Wham she was over the moon.
“I picked them up after the concert and Amanda was singing all the songs. She was really chuffed and brought back a bagful of freebies.”
He said that from then on they got on reasonably well.
“She was a typical teenager. She was interested in Wham, and not much else.”
Mr Jackson said Hutton was not interested in school. She attended Nab Wood Grammar and left when she was 17 or 18.
“She went because the law said she had to go. She sat the exams and never bothered to go back for her certificates. Once she finished school she never went back again. She thought it was a complete waste of time.”
Hutton worked briefly at a printing firm but left after three weeks. She then got a job working shifts in the distribution department at the catalogue giant Next.
“She seemed to enjoy it and made friends there. She used to stay the night with female friends from work and go straight into work the next day.”
Mr Jackson went on: “She was a normal 18-year-old. She looked after herself and wore make up, perfume, nice clothes and high heels and got her hair done. She was very mindful of her appearance.”
He said that when Hutton was 17 or 18 she started going out on Saturday nights to Dollars, a Bradford night club.
“She looked 18 so the doormen let her in. When she was 18 she used to come back drunk. There were arguments between her and her mum about her staying out late. I kept out of it. She would come in at 3am. I think she was drinking wine and martinis at that time.”
Hutton then got her own flat.
Mr Jackson said: “Things were going quite well at that time. We used to go there and Amanda would cook for us. The flat was well looked after.”
Mr Jackson said that when she had her first child, Tariq, she changed.
“She suddenly had other, more important, commitments, and she fulfilled those commitments. She thought the world of Tariq and was devoted and dedicated to him. They did everything that a mother and child would do together, and the child was well looked after. Everything was just normal. She would bring him to her mother’s regularly at weekends.
“Aftab appeared out of the blue. I don’t know how Amanda met him. Ann wasn’t struck with the relationship, but they seemed to get on all right.”
Mr Jackson told how Hutton had cared for him as he recovered from a hernia operation.
“I was off work for three months and Amanda nursed me. Ann was working as an auxiliary nurse, so Amanda came round most mornings with Tariq. He would play on the floor with his toys.
“Amanda would make me drinks and sandwiches, cook me my dinner, walk the dog, and talk to me and keep me company. She did everything that a nurse would have done and she seemed to enjoy looking after me. She was very caring and considerate.
“She thought the world of Tariq. She was very protective towards him.”
Mr Jackson said Hutton was close to her mother and would ring every three days and be on the phone for an hour or more.
But Ann was diagnosed with cancer and as she became more ill she was unable to take the calls from her daughter.
“Amanda was doing a lot of crying and a lot of worrying, and not sleeping well, over her mother during her illness and leading up to her death. The day that she died she just wailed. She didn’t know where to put herself.
“After her death, Amanda would ring up regularly and wail down the phone. She would say ‘My mother’s dead. What am I going to do? I’ve no future.’ “It went on for nearly a year and then she suddenly stopped ringing and I never heard from her.
“About two years after Ann died I was in the Bradford area and went for a meal at a restaurant with Amanda. She was a bit on the fattish side, but she looked well enough and ate everything. But afterwards she was sick. She talked about her mother and asked if I was looking for another woman.
“Before her mother died there was evidence that Amanda was drinking, but it was under control. After her mother died it went haywire and she went downhill. Things weren’t going right with Aftab and when she no longer had the support of her mother she began to go downhill.”
Mr Jackson said his wife knew that Aftab “clouted” Hutton from time to time. “We didn’t interfere. They were together and it was between her and Aftab.”
He said the only time he saw Hamzah was a few weeks after his birth when Hutton and Aftab visited them in Driffield. He said the couple also brought their older sons Tariq and Qaiser.
“They came for the day and had a whale of a time. They went for a walk and played in the garden and Ann cooked a big meal for them. It was a normal Sunday family get together. It was the last time Amanda came to our house.
“By then, Ann had only months to live, and Amanda brought Hamzah for her to see him.”
Mr Jackson said he had no thoughts about Hutton now. “I was only related by marriage, I wasn’t part of the family. The relationship I had with Amanda was good to begin with, but it deteriorated.
“Her relationship with Aftab was at best amicable, and most of the time they were at loggerheads. I think the final straw was her losing all support and contact with the outside world when her mother died.”