The tragic end of Kaylea Titford and her dad’s excuse for leaving her in conditions ‘unfit for an animal’
Kaylea Titford’s living conditions before she died have been called “truly horrific”, in a court case that has shocked all those involved.
The 16-year-old was found dead in a bed unfit for any animal, in soiled clothing and linen, at the family home in Newtown, Powys, Wales. Grim photographs were shown in court during the trial of her parents for manslaughter.
Emergency service workers, who were called to the house in October 2020, described feeling sick due to a “rotting” smell in her room.
Kaylea had spina bifida and hydrocephalus restricting her to a wheelchair since a child. She had not used the wheelchair, which became too small for her, since the start of lockdown and died of complications with obesity.
Weighing 22 stone and 13 lbs, she was left without a chance by her parents Alun Titford, 45 and Sarah Lloyd Jones, 39.
Asked in court why he had let his daughter down so badly, her dad said: “I’m lazy.”
Not only did her parents fail to ensure her dietary needs were met - she died with a body mass index of 70, the average for a girl of her age is 23.3 - they also allowed the teenager’s room to deteriorate into a rotting pit of squalor.
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.”
Caroline Rees KC, prosecuting, said forensic podiatry specialist David Blake found even the simple act of changing Kaylea’s socks regularly appeared to have been ignored.
The podiatrist estimated that Kaylea’s toenails had not been cut for six to 10 months.
The cruel circumstances surrounding Kaylea’s death highlights more fallout from coronavirus lockdowns which saw public services struggle to meet the needs of the most vulnerable as the pandemic gripped the nation.
Before lockdown, Kaylea attended Newtown High School, where she was described as “funny and chatty” by staff.
The signs of neglect, however, were seen before the pandemic.
Kaylea attended physiotherapy but was discharged in 2017 and a year later was discharged from a dietetics service because her mother, Lloyd-Jones also her full-time carer from 2018, failed to make a new appointment.
Things only worsened when the pandemic started. She became confined to her home after the coronavirus lockdown began in March 2020, Ms Rees said.
Left in the care of her parents, Kaylea was fed takeaways four to five times a week, gaining two to three stone during lockdown.
When she was found dead, she was lying on filthy “puppy pads” with maggots and flies on her body while her bed was surrounded by milk bottles filled with urine.
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.
She added: “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.”
While Kaylea’s mother Lloyd-Jones admitted manslaughter by gross negligence, her father denied the offence before being found guilty.
He accepted he failed as much as Kaylea’s mother Sarah Lloyd-Jones, who has pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence.
Ms Rees said: “You’re as much to blame for Kaylea’s death as Sarah Lloyd-Jones is?”
Titford replied: “Yeah.”
The disgraced father admitted that as Kaylea got older he became less involved in her care and “stepped back” because he didn’t feel comfortable. He simply told the court he thought Kaylea’s mother was caring for the teenager.
It was also claimed in the trial that Kaylea was let down by social services and had last been seen by a social worker at home in 2017.
A spokesman for Powys County Council said: “Following the conclusion of court proceedings, a concise child practice review is to be carried out and will involve all relevant agencies following a clear statutory framework.
“The local authority does not feel able to comment until this process has been completed.”