Monster mum starved girl with Down’s Syndrome to death in room with used nappies

A monster mum who starved her disabled daughter to death in a filthy room covered in takeaway boxes and used nappies has been jailed for nine years.

Elaine Clarke, 49, pocketed £215 a week while starving her daughter, 24-year-old Debbie Leitch in a faeces-covered room that "smelled of death".

Debbie, who had Down's Syndrome, weighed just 3st 10lb when she was found dead at the family home in August 2019.

Reports indicate that Debbie was suffering from a severe skin condition, Norwegian scabies, that had spread to such an extent that police couldn't identify her sex when they first discovered her body.

Clarke, from Blackpool, was sentenced to nine years and seven months in prison, admitting to gross negligent manslaughter at Preston Crown Court.

John Harrison QC, prosecuting, described the terrible conditions, saying: "Debbie was extremely emaciated with a severe rash to the scalp, the face and the soles of the feet.

"The jumper and trousers worn by the deceased were filthy and mites were found crawling on them. A urine-soiled nappy was found inside her trousers.

"As her clothing was cut away from her body, bits of skin came away with it as it had adhered to her body. Mites were found crawling all over her back. The trousers were covered in liquid faeces.

"Debbie's hair was falling out due to the scabies rash. Debbie's ribs were visible through the skin."

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Clarke's niece, Sammy Mugridge, had found the 24-year-old lying on a filthy mattress in a foul-smelling room and warned Clarke that Debbie would die if she was not looked after properly and reported her to social services.

Mugridge said to the court: "I knew she was ill and not well, but the sight of her in the room will live with me forever. The stench was unbelievable… I can only describe it as the stench of death."

A GP scheduled a home visit, which led to Clarke making efforts to clean the room and her daughter, putting her in the shower where the court heard that "Debbie screamed throughout the shower."

Clarke re-assured the doctor that she was treating Debbie's skin condition, but on subsequent requests for a visit, the GP was met with no answer.

Clarke, who was paid £215 a week to care for her daughter, called 999 on August 29, 2019, where it was determined that Debbie had been dead for anywhere between eight and 39 hours.

The 49-year-old initially denied the unlawful killing of her daughter but changed her plea to guilty just 10 days before the case was due to go to trial.

Judge Amanda Yip sentenced Clarke, saying: "You are responsible for Debbie's death.

"Debbie was starved, the scabies was allowed to run out of control, she became more and more weakened until she died. In her last days, she was denied the most basic care and dignity."

Clarke must serve at least two-thirds of her prison sentence before she is eligible for release, after which she will remain on licence.

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