A 16-year-old girl who died after becoming morbidly obese in lockdown and lived in conditions “unfit for any animal” was seriously neglected by her parents, a court has been told.
Kaylea Titford weighed 22 stone and 13 lbs, with a body mass index of 70, when she died in October 2020 at her home in Newtown, Powys, Wales, where she was found lying in soiled clothing and bed linen, Mold Crown Court heard on Wednesday.
Her mother Sarah Lloyd-Jones, 39, admits manslaughter by gross negligence but her father Alun Titford, 45, denies the offence, the jury was told.
Opening Titford’s trial, Caroline Rees KC, prosecuting, said Kaylea had spina bifida, a back condition, and hydrocephalus, a build up of fluid on the brain, and used a wheelchair from a young age.
She attended Newtown High School, where she was described as “funny and chatty” by staff, but became confined to her home after the coronavirus lockdown began in March 2020, Ms Rees said.
Kaylea was living in “squalor and degradation”, she said, and when paramedics found her dead she was lying on filthy “puppy pads”, with maggots and flies on her body and milk bottles filled with urine around her bed.
Ms Rees said: “Kaylea Titford was living in conditions unfit for any animal, let alone a vulnerable 16-year-old girl who depended entirely on others for her care.”
Kaylea was grossly obese, with dirty and matted hair, an unwashed body and ulcerated skin, the court was told.
On the morning of October 10 2020, the court heard, a 999 call was made by Titford’s mother before paramedics attended and found Kaylea’s body.
Police officers noted an “unbearable” rotting smell and maggots crawling on the bed, the jury was told.
Ms Rees said: “The prosecution say that the scene – as witnessed by those that attended – together with the state in which Kaylea’s body was found demonstrate clearly that this vulnerable girl, who relied heavily on others for her welfare needs, was seriously neglected by not just one but both of her parents, who owed her a duty of care.”
Ms Rees said pathologist Dr Deryk James examined Kaylea and said her physical state suggested she had not been properly washed in many weeks.
He ruled her death was a result of “inflammation and infection in extensive areas of ulceration arising from obesity and its complications, and immobility in a girl with spina bifida and hydrocephalus”, the court heard.
Ms Rees said forensic podiatry specialist David Blake found even the simple act of changing Kaylea’s socks regularly appeared to have been ignored.
When Titford was interviewed by police, he told them he was “not a very good dad” and his wife looked after Kaylea and did the housework, the court heard.
He said his daughter had outgrown her wheelchair and he did not think he had seen her out of bed since before lockdown.
Titford told police the family would have takeaways, including Chinese and Indian food and kebabs, five nights a week.
Asked when he last asked Kaylea how she was, he said: “I didn’t ask her. Like I say, I’m not the best of people. Nobody ever thinks their child is going to end up like that.”
Titford, of Colwyn, Newtown, denies manslaughter by gross negligence and an alternative charge of causing or allowing the death of a child.
The trial, which is expected to last up to four weeks, will continue on Thursday.