Disabled teenager Kaylea Titford begged her mother to help her in the weeks leading up to her death. The pair were jailed today for a combined term of 13 years and six months in prison. Sarah Lloyd-Jones, 40, was imprisoned for six years while Alun Titford, 45, was told he would spend seven years and six months behind bars.
Lloyd-Jones previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence while Titford was convicted of the same offense after his trial last month.
Swansea Crown Court heard Kaylea, who had spina bifida and used a wheelchair, was found in conditions “unfit for any animal” after she died at home in Newtown, Powys, in October 2020.
Shocking images lay bare the squalor Kaylea was forced to endure, with pictures showing urine left on the floor, soiled sheets and a room full of clutter.
She weighed 22st 13lb and had a BMI of 70 at the time of her death. Most girls of her age have a BMI within the range of 16.41 and 31.3.
The Newtown High School pupil, described as funny and chatty by staff, died shortly after her 16th birthday.
The court heard Kaylea messaged Lloyd-Jones two weeks before her death begging for help getting rid of flies in her room.
She wrote: “It’s little baby ones landing on me.” To which her mother replied: “They like you lol.”
The prosecution alleged that Kaylea had not used her wheelchair, which became too small for her, since the start of lockdown.
Caroline Rees KC, prosecuting, asked Titford: “She hadn’t been out of bed, had she?”
But he claimed he had seen her in the kitchen of the house in her wheelchair during that period, despite telling the police in an interview that he had not seen her out of bed.
The court heard Kaylea had been discharged from physiotherapy and dietetics services in the years before her death and had last been seen by a social worker at home in 2017.
Titford claimed Lloyd-Jones, who was a community care worker, was responsible for looking after Kaylea.
He said he used to take her to medical appointments and care for her but stepped back when she reached puberty as he was not “comfortable”.
In cross-examination he accepted he was as much to blame for Kaylea’s death as her mother.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Griffiths said: “Kaylea Titford made a success of her life. She was funny, determined and fiercely independent.
“She went to a mainstream school. She had a learning assistant to help her with things in school she simply could not do herself. But she would not allow people so much as to push her wheelchair or open a door for her. Everything she could do for herself, she did.
“But she died just after her 16th birthday.
“You, Sarah Lloyd Jones, her mother – and you, Alun Titford, her father – caused her death by shocking and prolonged neglect over lockdown.”
He added: “By the time of her death, she was lying in her own filth, surrounded by flies which bothered her and maggots which fed on her.
“Her flesh was disfigured by ulcers which left her skin open down to the fat and in one place down to the bone.
“The stench created as her body rotted away alive, and from the excrement left to dry unattended around and on her body, and in the room, made paramedic and police officers of long experience retch and feel physically sick when they attended on the body.
“The ulcers on Kaylea’s body, caused by pressure sores, lack of hygiene, lack of movement, and lack of professional care, were the worst the expert had ever seen.
“And it is not only the death. I have no doubt that the suffering and degradation she experienced before she died was prolonged and significant.”
He told the pair: “I find it impossible to say that one parent was more to blame than the other. They were both equally responsible and they were both equally guilty.”
The judge said neither defendant had shown remorse “that should count as significant mitigation”.
He said: “I accept the personal mitigation put forward on behalf of both defendants. I accept that both parents have been grieved by the loss of their daughter and that Sarah Lloyd-Jones is now correctly diagnosed as suffering from a major depressive disorder.
“I accept she struggled with the care of Kaylea. Alun Titford also has personal mitigation, to which I have given weight. I accept that lockdown created unusual circumstances, although both defendants were going out to work after March 2020. Neither defendant was cut off from the outside world.
“It is clear to me that what the defendants could not do, and the stress and pressure of looking after a number of children, including Kaylea with her special needs, was within their power to deal with by calling for appropriate help, which they did not do.
“Their failures were not for reasons beyond their control. They never asked for help they did not get. They did not ask for help at all. It was made easy for them to ask for help.”
In a statement issued through Dyfed-Powys Police after the sentencing, Kaylea Titford’s family said they were “incredibly saddened” by her death.
They said: “As a family, we are incredibly saddened by Kaylea’s death. While we appreciate the support we have received, we now request privacy and time to grieve our loss.”
Detective Chief Inspector Jon Rees, of Dyfed-Powys Police, described the investigation into Kaylea Titford’s death as “traumatic and difficult”.
He said: “The conditions in which Kaylea was found were incomprehensible, and the impact of what they saw and experienced will be long-lasting for the officers and ambulance service staff who attended.
“To think Kaylea was able to attend school just months before she died is heartbreaking.
“While we did all we could to get justice for Kaylea, nothing will take away the loss of a teenage girl who was so badly let down by the very people who should have been caring for her.
“Once again, I would like to thank the officers and staff from Dyfed-Powys Police and other agencies for their commitment and professionalism during what has been a traumatic and difficult investigation.”