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Sheffield couple found guilty of falsely imprisoning their autistic son in the attic

A mother and stepfather who kept her starving autistic son locked in an attic have been found guilty of false imprisonment.

The son was so malnourished his bones could be seen through his skin, according to a report from South Yorkshire Police.

Lorna Hewitt, 43, and her husband Craig Hewitt, 42, both of Walkley Road, Sheffield, were found guilty on Wednesday of causing or allowing serious injury to a vulnerable adult, and false imprisonment.

Victim weighed just six stone

Sheffield Crown Court heard that the victim had been neglected for some time and suffered from severe malnutrition, weighing just six stone, despite being six feet tall.

His fingers and toenails were so long that they were causing him pain, his hair was long and unkempt, and his teeth were badly stained with orange plaque.

He was also covered in bruises and abrasions, police said.

The man’s condition was revealed when an ambulance crew was called to the home in June last year after reports that he had collapsed.

On arriving at hospital, he was so ill that he was taken straight into intensive care, police said, adding that he had since fully recovered.

Police found that he had been sleeping in an attic bedroom with a lock on the door which could only be opened from the outside.

The bedroom floor was covered with rubbish and human excrement and there were no washing facilities or toilet.

Food was delivered in a box

The man had not been allowed to leave the room, even to eat with family, the court heard. Instead, his food was delivered to his room in a box.

T/Detective Sergeant Susannah Taylor from the force’s Protecting Vulnerable People Team, said: “This was an horrific case in which the victim could well have lost his life as his organs were shutting down.

“He had to be placed into intensive care in a life-threatening condition.

“Thankfully he has since made a full recovery and is now getting the support and care he needs.

“The investigation was a long and complex one but both have now been brought to justice and have time in jail to consider the consequences of their actions.”

“Plenty of partner agencies played a part in getting us here. Schools, numerous medical experts from hospital and respite care providers, among others, all spent a lot of time helping with this case.”

The Hewitts will be sentenced on 18 February.



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