Hoarder father, 93, and son ‘left immobile daughter to die in filth and squalor’

Ralph Burdett and his son Philip, from Leicester, left Julie Burdett in the bedroom with dreadful injuries and “surrounded by filth” for weeks, jurors were told

Father and son Ralph and Philip Burdett are accused of manslaughter

A vulnerable woman died in “horrific” conditions in a bedroom after her elderly father and brother failed to care for her or seek medical help, a court heard.

Jurors were told the body of Julie Burdett, 61, weighed just 4st 10lb when paramedics were finally called to her Leicester home.

“Extreme” hoarders Ralph Burdett, 93, and his son Philip, 59, left Julie to suffer “dreadful” injuries “surrounded by filth and squalor” for around two weeks in January 2019, the prosecution claim.

Leicester Crown Court heard Philip was paid a carer’s allowance of £60 per week to help his sister, who was immobile.

Jurors were told Julie died from extreme ulcerations, and an expert who examined the body said she had “never seen such a severe level of pressure damage” in her 40-year career.

Cecil and Philip Burdett arriving at Leicester Crown Court



The father and son are accused of manslaughter



The father and son, of Leicester, both deny manslaughter and told police they did not call for medical assistance because it was “against Julie’s wishes”.

Opening the case against them on Thursday, prosecutor Timothy Cray QC told the jury: “What you are going to hear in this court room is going to be hard for you to forget, ever I should think.

“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.

“So, from the start, it is important to understand why you have been brought from your normal lives, in here, and why you have to examine some terrible facts.

The jury was told that the case will be “hard to forget”



“The reason you are here is because someone died, a woman who was called Julie Burdett.

“We, that is the prosecution, say that Julie’s death was entirely avoidable and that the fault for her death lies with these defendants.

“Our case is that Julie died from neglect: because these defendants, who were meant to care for her, did not care for her.”

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.

Mr Cray told jurors that “the failures of care were basic”



Detailing the alleged neglect, Mr Cray told jurors: “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.

“The neglect you are going to be looking at was sustained over weeks and parts of it were deliberate – for example, each defendant decided that they would not call medical or any other help for Julie.

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

The father and son both deny manslaughter



“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.

“Their neglect was bad enough to lead to an awful death.

“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 neighbors who were willing to help, saying that Julie was in serious decline and that they were struggling to cope.

“The central allegation that we make is that their neglect led to Julie’s death and that the neglect was so exceptionally bad that it amounted to the crime of manslaughter.”

The court heard paramedics attended the address at around 3.30pm on January 15 following a 999 call and found Julie dead in a small bedroom at the back of the bungalow.

Mr Cray said: “What the three paramedics discovered was horrific. The body appeared thin and frail. There were no signs of life.

“The history that emerged from the paramedics speaking to the defendants was… for around two weeks, Julie had been left in her room, wedged against the bed in a space where there was barely room to move.”

The trial continues.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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