The parents of a 16-year-old girl who died following “shocking” neglect have been jailed.
Kaylea Titford’s father Alun Titford, from Newtown, Powys, was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence and has been jailed for seven years and six months.
Kaylea’s mother Sarah Lloyd-Jones admitted the same charge and was sentenced to six years.
The teenager’s body was found on soiled sheets at their home in October 2020.
Sentencing the pair at Swansea Crown Court on Wednesday, Mr Justice Martin Griffiths said Kaylea’s parents were “both equally responsible and were both equally culpable.”
The judge added: “This was a horrifying case. A case of sustained neglect, leading to the death of a vulnerable, bedridden child at the hands of her own parents.”
The hearing was the first time broadcasters were allowed to film a crown court hearing in Wales, following a major change in the law last year which permitted TV cameras in some courtrooms.
Kaylea had spina bifida, which left her with little feeling from the waist down and limited her mobility, and had used a wheelchair from a young age.
Neglected teen left to die alone by parents
Parents killed girl by letting her become obese
The trial heard that when she was found dead at her home on 10 October 2020 she was morbidly obese, weighing nearly 23 stone (146 kg).
Her hair was dirty and matted and she was unwashed with ulcerated skin.
‘Squalor and degradation’
Prosecutor Caroline Rees KC said her parents’ “serious failures were hidden from the world” because of the coronavirus lockdown, which kept Kaylea at home from March 2020 onwards.
This left her “trapped” in an “inhumane” environment where she lay on “filthy puppy pads”, with maggots and flies on and around her body.
“Kaylea lived and died in squalor and degradation”, she added.
Before the lockdown, Kaylea was described as being “fiercely independent and a lovely, chatty girl”, but she became less able to move using a wheelchair.
Kaylea had not been seen by any medical professional in the nine months prior to her death, the court was told, and the evidence of a doctor was that the “consequences of neglect” were the worst he had seen in 30 years of practice.
In the three months before her death, the household had spent a total of £1,035.76 on takeaway food.
“As her condition deteriorated, the expenditure on takeaways and fast food increased,” Ms Rees said.
The court heard that Kaylea was “eating, sleeping and defecating” from her bed.
“The last months of Kaylea Titford’s life must have been horrendous,” Ms Rees said.
The court also heard a series of text messages between Kaylea and her mother in August and September 2020, in which she asked for help with “incontinence needs”.
“It shows that Sarah Lloyd-Jones was fully aware, and did not do anything about it,” Ms Rees said.
Ms Rees said it was not a “lapse” in care, but “repeated negligent conduct in the face of obvious suffering”.
She added: “Both parents had a duty of care, both were equally responsible. The fact that Alun Titford chose to absent himself from the care of Kaylea, does not give him an excuse.”
In mitigation for Lloyd-Jones, Lewis Power KC said his client had an “epiphany of insight into her actions”, leading to her guilty plea.
“She accepts that she owed her daughter a duty of care, and that she did breach that duty by failing to take reasonable care for her daughter’s health and welfare needs.”
Mr Power said that, prior to the pandemic, Lloyd-Jones was “a lady who tried her best”, and added that she suffered from depression and became “gradually overwhelmed”, particularly due to the “pressures of lockdown”.
David Elias KC, representing Titford, said his client showed “genuine remorse” and that the pair had been “good parents” up until the lockdown period.
He said that Titford suffered from depression and a historic drug addiction, “lacked confidence” and was “overly reliant” on others.
However, the judge said he “did not accept” that outside agencies should have been more proactive.
“They never asked for help they didn’t get. They never asked for help at all,” he said.