UK: Media joins self-absolving agencies to scapegoat Amanda Hutton for son’s starvation death
-UK ~ Tuesday October 7 2013
The Scapegoating of Amanda Hutton By Jennifer Drew
UK’s malestream media has avidly sensationalised the trial of Amanda Hutton who has just been convicted of manslaughter by gross neglect whereby she deliberately starved her 4 year old son to death.
Malestream media printed graphic details of Amanda Hutton’s supposedly ‘sordid lifestyle’ because not only is she addicted to drugs and alcohol but she supposedly made the informed decision to starve her son to death. The fact Ms. Hutton was subjected to physical violence by her ex male partner Aftab Khan, who was subsequently convicted of assaulting Ms. Hutton, was conveniently ignored by malestream media. This case was an ideal one in malestream’s endless propaganda war on women, because the female defendant was supposedly epitome of everything ‘bad’ about women. Ms. Hutton’s life was chaotic because she is drug and alcohol dependent; her home was squalid; she deliberately neglected her child; she had left her male partner and she deliberately allowed her child to die!
Now that she has been convicted, Bradford Council swiftly claimed they had done all they could to protect this child and local Social Services too claim they too did everything they could to protect Hamzah. Likewise local police claimed they weren’t to blame because they claim Ms. Hutton was ‘an obstructive woman who refused offers of help and went to great lengths to conceal Hamzah’s death in December, 2009.’
Yet it is well known women who live chaotic lives are not ‘angels’ and will commonly hide/deny their reality. The police’s claim Ms. Hutton was ‘obstructive’ means Ms. Hutton did not enact appropriate submissive behaviour whereby she should have meekly submitted to whatever the police demanded. Social Service frontline staff are supposed to have an understanding of the complexities of how and why many mothers deny they have ‘problems’ and view Social Workers as attempting to control them and/or remove their children on false pretenses. This is not to absolve Ms. Hutton of any accountability but she alone was not responsible for death of her child.
Detective Superintendent Lisa Griffin demonises Ms. Hutton because contrary to Griffin’s claims not all women are able to raise their children without the support and help of Social Services. Ms. Hutton’s drug and alcohol addiction are not separate issues since she was also subjected to systemic male violence by Khan. But the Crown Prosecutor claimed the fact Ms. Hutton had been subjected to systemic male violence from her former male partner, Aftab Khan was ‘irrelevant.’ Issue of intimate male partner violence against a woman supposedly has no impact whatsoever on a woman’s ability to care for her child/children.
We now learn that Ms. Hutton was the subject of a number of multi-agency meetings, (this means Social Services, Bradford Child Protection Agency and local police were all present) but no action was taken!
The Guardian’s report of Ms. Hutton’s conviction makes this ludicrous claim: ‘Police were called when she ended up with a black eye after an argument in the street with Khan, with whom she had begun a relationship around 10 years earlier.’ Somehow Ms. Hutton ‘ended up with a black eye’ but we don’t know who inflicted this upon Ms. Hutton. Perpetrator Khan’s actions are neatly invisibilised because Guardian claims it was just an ‘argument’ which is not the same as ‘Khan subjected Ms. Hutton to physical violence resulting in him hitting her in the face and causing injury to tissue surrounding her eye!’
Malestream media reports that ‘No doctors saw Hamzah (Ms. Hutton’s child) from when he was two weeks old and Hutton slammed the door in the face of visiting health workers – when she bothered to answer the door at all.’ This is women-blaming and one wonders how malestream media knew when and if Hutton ‘bothered to answer the door!’ Perhaps malestream media has a ‘magic crystal ball’ whereby they can access the minute everyday details of Ms. Hutton’s life! Purpose of this nasty women-blaming sentence is to portray Ms. Hutton as ‘epitome of female monstrosity’ as opposed to the male created ‘mythical ideal mother!’
Glossed over is the fact Ms. Hutton’s General Practitioner removed her from his patient list, because Ms. Hutton failed to attend a number of appointments in respect of her child Hamzah. The practice of removing mothers from GP lists is not an isolated incident but is common practice. However, it is well known within Social Services that children not attending routine medical appointments is often an indication the mother is trying to hide something concerning child’s welfare. Furthermore Bradford Education authority also failed to notice that Hamzah whilst of school age had not attended any school.
During Ms. Hutton’s trial the court head about a welfare check undertaken by PC Maria Furness, eight months prior to Hamzah’s death. According to PC Furness, upon gaining access to Ms. Hutton’s home she found all Ms. Hutton’s children, including Hamzah ‘to be fed well, clean, healthy looking and there was an appropriate adult in the address.’ Yet court learned Hamzah had been systematically starved for many months so clearly there is a contradiction in evidence.
The list of systemic failures by Social Services, police, Bradford Education Authority and Ms. Hutton’s GP are all glossed over because the scapegoat is Ms. Hutton – she alone is supposedly responsible for causing her son Hamzah’s death by starvation.
As usual women are blamed for not ensuring the safety and well-being of their child/children. One wonders why we have institutions such as Social Services; police forces and Child Protection Institutions given it is women’s responsibility alone to ensure their child/children is accorded care and well-being!! As Detective Superintendent Lisa Griffin said: ‘ultimately the responsibility for care and welfare of the child in that household lay very firmly with Amanda Hutton and it was her responsibility and hers alone, to ensure that all their basic needs were met… Clearly she failed in that!’ Well that absolves police, Social Services and Bradford Local Authority of accountability because Ms. Hutton alone is to blame for death of Hamzah!
Interesting that father of Hamzah Aftab Khan is not held accountable for failing in his ‘father’s duty of care!’ One wonders why Khan didn’t do more to pressurise Social Services to take action, given he allegedly was concerned about well being of his son, Hamzah. But then fathers are never held to the same impossible standard as mothers are.
Doubtless there will be an in-depth report published in due course claiming authorities were not responsible but that ‘lessons have been learned,’ but this claim is meaningless because children and women continue to be denied real help and support from those institutions/agencies supposedly created to help them.
I have no doubt questions will not be asked concerning why frontline Social Workers are expected to manage too many cases without any additional support. Why there is no legislation permitting Social Workers to use Police in order to gain entry to homes when they strongly suspect a mother/father is neglecting their child/children. Questions will also not be asked as to why front line staff are commonly blamed when the real blame lies with continued failure and/or refusal of multi-agencies to communicate with each other and act collectively.
Equally interesting is the fact whenever a father decides to cold bloodedly murder his biological children he commonly claims ‘depression/unemployment/wife’s infidelity/alcohol/drug addiction caused him to commit murder.’ These claims are then accepted in mitigation but women continue to be held to impossible standards or rather it is the same old, same old misogynistic lies. Women are responsible for all mens’ ills!
All of the above evidence was obtained via reading reports from the UK’s Independent and Guardian because both these newspapers only partially reported all the facts and this is common practice within malestream media. Selective reporting ensures continuation of ‘fragmentation’ whereby the truth can be conveniently distorted to maintain a specific male supremacist agenda.
London ~ Friday 4 October 2013
Hamzah Khan death: Amanda Hutton faces sentencing for starving four-year-old son to death
Hamzah Khan's mummified remains were discovered in a cot in a Bradford home in September 2011 almost two years after he diedBy Cahal Milmo, Jonathan Brown
Hamzah Khan, who's mummified body was found in the bedroom of his mother's home almost two years after he died (West Yorkshire Police/AP)
An alcoholic mother-of-eight has been convicted of starving her four-year-old son to death and hiding his remains, in a case which raises renewed questions about the protection of vulnerable children.
Amanda Hutton, 43, a former care worker for the elderly, was found guilty of manslaughter after a jury heard how Hamzah Khan’s grossly malnourished body was found hidden at her Bradford home in a baby-gro for a nine-month-old baby.
The child’s mummified and insect-infested remains were not discovered until nearly two years after his death in December 2009 when a complaint from a neighbour led officers to the family’s three-storey home and a scene of appalling squalor.
Hutton, who betrayed no emotion as the unanimous verdict of manslaughter by gross negligence was delivered at Bradford Crown Court, had claimed that Hamzah was a “fussy eater” who had effectively starved himself to death.
The well-spoken mother was known to police after suffering domestic violence at the hands of her estranged partner, Aftab Khan. She was placed on a West Yorkshire Police register of abuse victims at the highest level of risk.
But police and prosecutors said the history of abuse could not absolve her of her devastating neglect of Hamzah - one of six school-age children aged five to 13 living with her. The trial heard that Hutton had fed Hamzah half a banana and half a cheese and onion pasty each day.
Detective Superintendent Lisa Griffin, of West Yorkshire police, who led the investigation, said: “Ultimately the responsibility for the care and welfare of the children in that household lay very firmly with Amanda Hutton, and it was her responsibility and hers alone, to ensure that all their basic needs were met... Clearly she failed in that.”
The conviction of Hutton, who also admitted charges of cruelty to her remaining five school-age offspring and failure to dispose adequately of a body, raised immediate concerns about whether professionals, from police officers to social workers and health visitors, could have spotted warning signs prior to Hamzah’s death.
A serious case review by Bradford's Safeguarding Children Board, due to be published shortly, is expected to express concern that Hamzah was removed from the patient list at his GPs practice in 2009 after his mother failed to attend a number of appointments.
The jury in Hutton’s trial was told that the child’s health record was blank beyond the age of two weeks and he had never been seen by a GP. Although he was of school-age by the time of his death, Hamzah’s absence was not noticed by his education authority.
The NSPCC said it was concerned at the practice of GPs removing children from their lists. David Tucker, head of policy, said: “Children not appearing at medical appointments is an indicator of risk that a parent or a carer is trying to avoid a professional seeing that child and seeing the abuse or neglect that that child is suffering.”
Following his arrest for attacking Hutton in 2008, Khan repeatedly asked officers to check Hamzah to see “how undernourished he is”.
But despite being the subject of multi-agency case meetings to discuss vulnerable families and visits from police and one social worker, nothing untoward was reported about Hutton or her children.
During one visit nine months before Hamzah’s death, a police officer described the six children as being in “good health” and “perfectly adequate surroundings”.
By the time the child’s body was discovered, conditions in the family home had deteriorated to the extent that officers who entered the property found themselves ankle deep in fast food boxes, faeces and empty vodka bottles. Hutton told the court that following Hamzah’s death she had taken to drinking a litre of spirits each day - a fact which prosecutors said proved she had put alcohol and cannabis above the needs of her children.
The bathroom sink was caked in vomit and the fridge contained nothing other than rotten food and ready meals for which the best before date had expired five months earlier.
In the only vaguely clean room - Hutton’s bedroom - Hamzah’s body was found beneath layers of discarded clothing in a blue travel cot. A teddy bear had been placed beside him by his mother, who claimed she had spent hours holding his body on the night of his death but was also found to have ordered take away pizza and curry that same evening.
Police said that Hutton, who will be sentenced tomorrow along with her grown-up son Tariq Khan after he previously admitted a charge of failure to adequately dispose of a body, had been “obstructive” and “difficult” and turned down multiple offers of help from care agencies.
Ms Griffin said the final months of Hamzah’s life, during which he was at one point observed eating the contents of his own soiled nappy, could only have been horrific. She said: “I can only imagine the pain and the suffering that that child endured.”
Social services leaders in Bradford said working practices would be changed to reflect concerns raised by the case. Professor Nick Frost, independent chair of Bradford Safeguarding Children Board, said: “Given the refusal of all offers of help that would be offered to any mother and the lack of serious concerns raised from any other source, there was limited involvement from statutory agencies.“
London ~ Friday 4 October 2013
Hamzah Khan starved to death by mother Amanda Hutton, jury decides
Mother convicted of manslaughter at Bradford crown court after four-year-old son's body was left in cot for almost two yearsBy Helen Pidd, northern editor
Amanda Hutton outside Bradford crown court where she was found guilty of manslaughter of her four-year-old son Hamzah Khan. (Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
A mother was on Thursday found guilty of starving her four-year-old son to death and letting his body mummify unseen in a cot for two years.
Amanda Hutton, a 43-year-old mother of eight from Bradford, fed Hamzah Khan so little that when his corpse was found he fitted in a babygrow designed for a six- to nine-month-old. His remains were mummified, mouldy and swarming with insects when police discovered them in September 2011.
None of Hutton's children were on the at-risk register or part of a child protection plan at the time the body was found, Bradford council said. A council spokeswoman rejected a claim by West Yorkshire police that numerous referrals had been made by officers to social services each time Hutton made an allegation of domestic violence against her ex-partner, Aftab Khan.
"Hamzah's is yet another tragic story of a child who was invisible to society and died at the hands of a parent," said Shaun Kelly, head of safeguarding at Action for Children. "It all adds up to a systemic failure to protect the most vulnerable."
Following a two-week trial, a jury at Bradford crown court found Hutton, had a problem with alcohol, guilty of manslaughter by gross neglect. That came at the end of a hearing that had begun with prosecuting QC Paul Greaney asking: "How had a child starved to death in 21st-century England?"
Five children aged between five and 11 were found by police when they searched Hutton's house two years ago. The court heard that they were malnourished, with head lice and fungal infections that had left them with missing toenails.
Some were wearing nappies despite being of school age, and appeared to crawl upstairs using their hands rather than walking. None had been seen by doctors for years. In May 2007 the family had missed so many medical appointments that their GP practice suspended appointments for the whole family indefinitely.
Neighbours said they had never seen some of the children in the two and a half years the family had lived in the terrace house. But some gave evidence admitting they had heard prolonged crying and shouting through the thin joining walls. Hamzah's body was found only when a neighbour complained about dirty nappies being thrown in his garden in the middle of the night, prompting a visit from a particularly tenacious police officer.
Aftab Khan, who in 2009 was convicted of assaulting Hutton and was described in court by the prosecution as having a "not at all attractive personality", said she had "well hidden" Hamzah's death and her neglect of the other children.
In an interview with the Guardian this week, Aftab Khan denied being a violent man but said he felt guilty about Hamzah's death. "I feel guilty. Of course I should have done more," he said. "I feel responsibility as a father. But this was nothing to do with me. It's clear cut. Believe me, if police had any evidence I'd been involved I'd be in that dock too." He said social services had to accept some responsibility for failing Hamzah. "They knew for a long time there had been problems," he said.
After the verdict police described Hutton as an "obstructive" woman who refused offers of help and went to great lengths to conceal Hamzah's death in December 2009.
Detective Supt Lisa Griffin, the senior investigating officer, said the case was the worst she had seen in 28 years in the police service. "She [Hutton] was obstructive, she was difficult and she failed in her ability to parent that child, to look after his basic needs, and sadly he died in the most difficult of circumstances. I can only imagine the pain and the suffering that that child endured." A spokeswoman for Bradford council said a serious case review would be published later this year after an inquest is held into Hamzah's death. Hutton will be sentencedon Friday, alongside her eldest son, Tariq, 24, who with his mother had already pleaded guilty to preventing Hamzah's lawful burial. Hutton also pleaded guilty to five charges of neglect involving her five surviving school-age children.