Mother, grandmother and sister who let teen rot to death jailed

Mother, grandmother and sister who let teen rot to death jailed


The mother, grandmother and sister of an emaciated 18-year-old boy who was left to rot to death have been jailed.

Jordan Burling’s mother Dawn Cranston, 45, was sentenced to four years in jail while grandmother Denise Cranston, 70, was given three years, after being convicted of manslaughter.

Sister Abigail Burling, 25, who was cleared of manslaughter but found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable person, was jailed for 18 months.

During a five-week trial, Leeds Crown Court heard how paramedics, who the family called to their home in the Farnley area in June 2016, said Mr Burling resembled a victim of a Second World War death camp.

He was covered in bed sores and wearing a soiled nappy when he died from acute bronchopneumonia. He weighed just 5st 11lb.

The judge, Mr Justice Spencer, told the three women it was “almost beyond belief” that the teenager “should have been allowed to die in his own house, here in Leeds, in 2016, in the bosom of his family”.

“It is important to emphasise that this was not a deprived household in material terms, nor were any of you inadequate to the point that you were unable to live a reasonably normal life outside the home,” he added.

“Although the house was full of clutter you all had mobile phones, laptop or tablet computers and great deal of other equipment.

“The house was well stocked with food. There were three refrigerators or freezers.

“Through your gross negligence, a precious human life was lost needlessly.”

The court also heard how police searching the house found the decomposed body of a baby, which had been in a rucksack in a wardrobe for about 14 years.

Dawn Cranston admitted trying to conceal a birth before the trial.

The judge said she was suffering from a dissociative disorder.

In a statement read outside court, the family of Mr Burling’s father, Steven, said: “It has been truly horrific to learn in court the full extent of the pain and suffering that Jordan went through, and also to discover that Steven had another son who he and the family knew nothing about.”

It said the family had been “denied the quality time we should have had with Jordan” and they felt “betrayed by the people we trusted to care” for him.

Mr Burling will always be remembered as “bubbly and chatty”, they said.

“We have had two years of hell coming to terms with Jordan’s death and we would like to thank the police and everyone involved who has helped to support us through this dreadful time.

“We now want to be left to grieve in peace and to lay Jordan and the baby to rest with the dignity and love they deserve.”

During the trial, prosecutor Nicholas Lumley QC told jurors: “Jordan had been allowed to decay, to rot to death, by those closest to him, over a period of, at least, several weeks.”

Dawn Cranston was even heard telling a 999 operator shortly before his death that his unresponsive state was a “blessing” as it meant she would not have to go work that day, the court heard.

Several witnesses said Mr Burling’s mother “did not seem bothered” as medics attempted to revive him with CPR, while Denise Cranston remained seated in a nearby armchair, the court heard.

James Rogers, chair of the Safer Leeds executive, said a full independent review would be carried out into Mr Burling’s death.

(c) Sky News 2018: Mother, grandmother and sister who let teen rot to death jailed