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Father, 93, convicted of allowing the ‘horrific’ death of immobile daughter

Father and son Ralph and Philip Burdett arriving at Leicester Crown Court (PA)
Father and son Ralph and Philip Burdett arriving at Leicester Crown Court (PA)

The 93-year-old father of an immobile and vulnerable woman who died in “horrific” conditions in a bedroom has been convicted of allowing her death.

After deliberating for more than 15 hours, jurors at Leicester Crown Court also found Julie Burdett’s brother Philip, aged 59, guilty of gross negligence manslaughter.

Her father Ralph Burdett was unanimously cleared of manslaughter on Friday, but was found guilty of the lesser offence of allowing the death of a vulnerable adult.

Cecil and Philip Burdett court case
Ralph Burdett (right) arrives at court with his son Philip during the trial (Joe Giddens/PA)

Ralph Burdett told the trial he had no idea his daughter, aged 61, was dying, and did not seek outside help because he “didn’t want to go against her wishes”.

Jurors were told the body of Ms Burdett weighed only 4st 10lb when paramedics were finally called to her Leicester home.

Prosecutors alleged the defendants, described in court as “extreme” hoarders, left Julie to suffer “dreadful” injuries “surrounded by filth and squalor” for around two weeks in January 2019, before she died of extreme ulcerations.

Julie was described in court as intelligent and articulate but she had developed a disease similar to multiple sclerosis by 1998, leaving her needing a wheelchair when she left the house.

The defendants, of Oakside Crescent, Leicester, were both granted bail until a sentencing hearing on a date to be fixed.

Adjourning the case for pre-sentence reports, Mr Justice Pepperall told the men the fact he was adjourning the case “implies no promise or indication as to the type of sentence that will be passed”.

“All options remain available to the court,” the judge said. “You have both been on unconditional bail throughout the proceedings and therefore I am going to extend your bail until that sentencing hearing.”

Opening the case against the father and son last month, prosecutor Timothy Cray QC told the jury: “Parts of the evidence, at least at the start, are shocking and I’m afraid they might cause you feelings of disgust and even revulsion.

“The failures of care were basic.

“They did not move Julie, they did not clean her, they did not feed her properly and they did not call for medical or other help.

“Ultimately, the result of their neglect was that Julie died.

“She died, I’m afraid, from dreadful injuries and surrounded by filth and squalor, in the home she shared with the defendants, her own father and her own brother.

“On the face of it, Julie could have been saved by something as simple as one phone call to any of the medical professionals who had been caring for her for years, or to neighbours who were willing to help, saying that Julie was in serious decline and that they were struggling to cope.”

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