Mother and Stepfather Charged as Three-year-old Dies in Squalor in UK

by Medindia Content Team on  June 13, 2008 at 11:51 AM Lifestyle News
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 Mother and Stepfather Charged as Three-year-old Dies in Squalor in UK
Yet another horrid story of parental neglect comes to light in UK. A three-year-old girl dies in squalor, mother and stepfather charged.

Weakened by lack of food and water, Tiffany Hirst died from pneumonia.

She was 'unloved, unwanted and left to die alone' in her bedroom above a pub run by the parents, a court was told.

Paramedics found her lying in a filthy bed in a beetle-infested room at the Scarbrough Arms on Addy Street, Sheffield. The youngster had been dead for up to two days. She was shockingly underweight and her body covered in insect bites.

Her mother Sabrina Hirst, 22, and stepfather Robert Hirst, 54, were originally charged with murder. But the Crown Prosecution Service accepted Sabrina's guilty plea to manslaughter on the grounds of 'gross negligence' and her partner's plea to a lesser charge of neglect.

Tiffany's stepfather Robert Hirst, 54, has been found guilty of neglect

The couple have also pleaded guilty to the neglect of a 12-month-old child.

Both were remanded in custody on Wednesday by Judge Alan Goldsack, QC, who adjourned the case at Sheffield Crown Court for reports.

The court was told Tiffany's death was a result of repeated and severe malnourishment. A post-mortem examination found development of her bones had been abnormal, indicating malnourishment and growth happening in bursts when she had been fed.

The pathologist also discovered the organ responsible for her immune system was 'much smaller' than it should have been, Daily Mail reports.

Detectives believe the little girl had been loved as a baby and toddler, but when Robert Hirst came into her life, things were to dramatically change.

Not only was she starved of love and attention, but they failed to give her the most basic level of care by denying her food and water.

Experienced police officers have been left shocked by the tragic case.

Outside court Detective Inspector Steve Williams, said:

'She was like a tiny porcelain doll, so tiny and frail and we all wondered how this had been allowed to happen in this day and age.'

He added: 'This must never happen again and if people have any concerns at all or suspicions about the welfare of a child they must call somebody because out of every thousand calls followed up if only one turns out to be founded and a child's life is saved it is worth it.'

The Hirsts were licensees of the Scarbrough Arms in Sheffield. The court heard for over 13 months before Tiffany's death, they were 'in a habit of leaving children locked up in residential quarters upstairs.'

When the girl died last September police found the house in a squalid condition, with live electrical wires hanging from the walls and one room where the family dogs were kept was full of excrement and urine.

Alan Jones, Chairman of the Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board, said he was 'immensely saddened' by the tragedy and a serious case review was being carried out.

He said the inquiry would 'look at the involvement that agencies had with this family and to make sure any necessary changes are made so that children in Sheffield are no longer put at risk in this way.'

Source: Medindia

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