Parents who killed obese daughter through sickening neglect jailed

(Family Handout/PA) (PA Wire)
(Family Handout/PA) (PA Wire)

A mother and father have been jailed for killing their 16-year-old disabled daughter in the first court hearing in Wales to be televised.

Kaylea Titford, who suffered from spina bifida, was found dead at her home in Newtown, Powys, in October 2020 after her parents allowed her to become morbidly obese, where maggots ate her rotting flesh.

Her mother, Sarah Lloyd-Jones, 39, admitted manslaughter by gross negligence last year, while her father, Alun Titford, denied the charges and was found guilty after a trial last month.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Griffiths said they had committed “shocking and prolonged neglect over lockdown”.

“(Kaylea) would not allow people so much as to push her wheelchair or open a door for her. Everything she could do for herself, she did,” the judge said.

“But she died just after her 16th birthday.

“You, Sarah Lloyd-Jones, her mother, and you, Alun Titford, her father, caused her death by shocking and prolonged neglect over lockdown.”

Titford and Lloyd-Jones were jailed for seven years and six months and six years respectively.

The teenager weighed 22st 13lb with a BMI of 70 at the time of her death, and her body was discovered inside her bedroom in conditions described as “unfit for any animal”.

A jury of eight men and four women convicted Titford after being shown pictures during the trial at Mold Crown Court in North Wales of the “squalor and degradation” Kaylea had been forced to endure.

The evidence showed how the teenager, who had been wheelchair-bound and dependent on others for her care, was left to lie in soiled clothing and on filthy bed linen and puppy training pads.

She died after suffering inflammation and infection from ulcerations caused by obesity and immobility.

Alun Titford (PA Wire)
Alun Titford (PA Wire)

Opening submissions during the sentencing Caroline Rees KC, prosecuting, said: “By the time of her death between October 9-10, Kaylea Titford was living in conditions unfit for any animal, let alone for a vulnerable 16-year-old girl who depended on others for her care.

“Kaylea lived and died in squalor and degradation.”

The court was told how Kaylea’s skin was “severely inflamed and ulcerated, so deeply in areas that the fat was exposed”.

Maggots were observed on her “filthy” body that were said to have been there “in life, as well as death”, Ms Rees KC said.

Ms Rees said that when the teenager was moved from where she had died: “Police officers then observed her bed and saw maggots in various stages of development crawling over the bed.”

Emergency service workers, who were called to the house on October 10, described feeling sick due to an “unbearable” rotting smell in her room.

When her body was examined maggots were found which were thought to have been feeding on her body in the final days of her life.

Titford claimed at trial that Lloyd-Jones was responsible for Kaylea’s care, and when he was asked why he had let his daughter down so badly, the removals worker said: “I’m lazy.”

Kaylea attended Newtown High School, where she was described by staff as “funny and chatty”, but she did not return after the coronavirus lockdown in March 2020.

The couple are to be sentenced at Swansea Crown Court before High Court Judge Mr Justice Griffiths, whose sentencing remarks will be broadcast to the public on TV and online.

It will be the first hearing in Wales to be filmed since the law was changed to allow cameras into criminal courts for the first time last year.

The sentencing at the Old Bailey in London of Ben Oliver, who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his grandfather, David Oliver, was the first case in England or Wales to be televised in July last year.

The move, which came after a 20-year campaign by BBC News, ITN, Sky News and the PA news agency, was intended to help the public get a better understanding of how sentencing decisions are taken and improve transparency in the justice system.

Coverage is restricted to the part of the proceedings when a judge hands down sentences and gives his reasons, with no view of defendants, victims, jurors, lawyers or witnesses.

Footage will be broadcast with a short time delay to avoid transmitting any violent or abusive reaction in the courtroom.