January 23, 2022, 10:25

    Mum found guilty after autistic son was found ‘close to death’ locked in an attic

    Mum found guilty after autistic son was found ‘close to death’ locked in an attic

    The mum of an autistic man who was found "close to death" weighing six stone and locked in an attic, has been found guilty.

    Lorna Hewitt, 43, and her husband Craig, 42, kept Matthew Langley, 22, locked in the attic of their home in Sheffield, South Yorks. for seven months.

    Matthew was found inside the vomit and faeces-covered room severely dehydrated and weighing just six stone (39kg).

    The Hewitts denied keeping him captive but today a jury found them guilty at Sheffield Crown Court.

    The couple were found guilty of false imprisonment and of causing or allowing a vulnerable adult to suffer serious physical harm.

    Craig Hewitt was also found guilty of false imprisonment and of causing or allowing a vulnerable adult to suffer serious physical harm

    Tom Maddick / SWNS)

    Matthew was found by paramedics seriously underweight, dehydrated and "with his life hanging in the balance", the jury was told.

    Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting, previously said the ambulance service was called to the home in the early hours in June 2020.

    He was rushed to an intensive care unit in a “pitiable state” with abrasions which indicates that he had been moving around on all fours, the prosecutor told the court.

    He had suffered damage to a kidney with high sodium levels relating to severe dehydration, it was heard.

    Matthew's mum pleaded not guilty but a jury saw right through it when they convicted her today

    Tom Maddick / SWNS)

    Mr Campbell added: “His sodium levels were dangerously high. They measured 180.

    "They were so high they could shut down his brain and kill him. Anything above 145, there is a real chance of death.

    “The Home Office pathologist examined the injuries and said the abrasions and bruises were consistent in his view with Matthew having been crawling on all fours over objects in his path.”

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    Cops found faeces and vomit in the attic bedroom all over the floor and bedding, a jury was told.

    The room was filled with buzzing flies, a bad smell and a key on the outside of the door, the court heard.

    Matthew, who has suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, incontinence, arthritis and learning difficulties, had weighed only six stone (39kg) when he was found, Mr Campbell said.

    He weighed eight-and-a-half stone (53.6kg) just seven months earlier in November 2019, the court heard.

    However, Mr Campbell said Matthew made a good physical recovery thanks to the hard work of medical professionals and he was discharged weighing 55kg.

    Hewitt told police his wife had found Matthew upstairs lying on the floor and he claimed his stepson had been fed and that he ate in his room.

    He also claimed after police found a key on the outside of Matthew’s bedroom door that there had been locks on the internal doors because their home used to be student accommodation.

    He also Hewitt stated to police that Matthew had only been locked in at night because he would go downstairs and set off security alarms.

    Matthew's mum chose to give no comment answers to all questions asked by the police, the court heard.

    Mr Campbell told the jury: “It’s a matter for you that you may think that as the pressures grew they were prepared to gamble with his health in order that he would be taken off their hands and be looked after by others.”

    Matthew's stepdad chose not to give evidence during the trial but his mum told the jury her son stopped having respite stay-overs because he became fed up with going to the care centre.

    But Mr Campbell claimed if they had not cancelled the respite care stays he received he would never have ended up in hospital fighting for his life.

    The mum further claimed during the trial that Matthew was not enjoying himself at the care home and that he wanted to go home.

    She said she had been anxious leaving Matthew alone on a couple of occasions but there were no other times when he was left alone and she tried to make him as safe as she could.

    Mr Campbell said the couple had started locking Matthew in his room at night but she claimed he had been left downstairs when they went out.

    The jury found them guilty after deliberating for a day.

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    Sourse: mirror.co.uk

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