Mother, stepfather guilty of abuse of autistic son

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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 64
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Location: Long Island, New York

13 Jan 2022, 8:46 am

Mother Locks Up Autistic Son in Loft, Nearly Starves Him to Death

A mother and stepfather who kept their autistic son locked in a loft and starved him until he was days from death have been found guilty of false imprisonment and neglect.

Following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court, England, on Wednesday, Lorna Hewitt, 43, was convicted along with her husband Craig Hewitt, 42.

The trial jury also found the couple, of Walkley Road, Sheffield, northern England, neglected their 22-year-old son, Matthew Langley, for a seven-month period between November, 2019, to June, 2020.

The locked loft room was found to be covered in rubbish, human faeces, and vomit. Food had been delivered to the man in a box.

Prosecutor Nicholas Campbell QC said Langley was in a "pitiable state", unable to walk, with bruises and abrasions suggesting he had been "crawling on all fours" in his room.

Langley's fingernails and toenails were so long they were causing him pain, the court heard. His hair was long and unkempt and his teeth were badly stained with orange plaque.

He also suffered an acute injury to his kidney and his sodium levels were "dangerously" elevated after being deprived of water and other liquids for a long time.

Health officials said he must have been fed only a few hundred calories a day over the period of months and believe he was just a few days from death when he was found.

Temporary Detective Sergeant Susannah Taylor, from South Yorkshire'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."

Judge Michael Slater denied the couple bail. The judge told Lorna and Craig Hewitt to expect a prison term of "some length", and that they would be sentenced on 18 February.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

It is Autism Acceptance Month.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


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Joined: 19 Nov 2017
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13 Jan 2022, 9:40 am

How was this man rescued? How did anyone find out about it?

It frightens me that parents can lock up a child, even an adult child, and toss away the key.

Like a River to a's the famous final scene. Bob Seger


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13 Jan 2022, 5:20 pm

His parents should be locked up in jail and deprived the things they deprived him of.


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14 Jan 2022, 7:27 am

heart breaking. hope the son can recover and go on to have a healthy life.


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Joined: 23 Nov 2006
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14 Jan 2022, 7:13 pm

This man's parents should be given as long a jail sentence as the UK system sees fit! :evil:

Silly NTs, I have Aspergers, and having Aspergers is gr-r-reat!