Family charged with death of 18-year-old who was left to starve

Ksenia Novikova
Jun 14, 2018
09:45 A.M.
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Officials charged the mother, the sister and the grandmother of a teenager who lost his life due to starvation in Leeds, UK.


As reported by The Times UK, a malnourished 18-year-old boy named Jordan Burling was found dead in an inflatable mattress wearing a soiled diaper.

He was covered with infected that were allowed to decay for several weeks.

Prosecutor Nicholas Lumley also told the jury that the police found the body of Burling's mother's newborn child stuffed into a rucksack.

Burling's 45-year-old mother Dawn Cranston, his 25-year-old sister Abigail Burling, and his 70-year-old grandmother Denise Cranston were accused of manslaughter. 

According to the report, an expert dietician said that he had never seen such an extreme case of malnutrition in 26 years. Burling's body weighed 37 kilograms; less than six stones


The expert compared Burling's condition to the bodies found in World War II's extermination camps.

The jury heard that Burling lived a normal life before he was taken out of school when he was 16 years old and was home-schooled by his mother Dawn.

No apparent illnesses were found that may have led to Burling's deteriorating health and his eventual death on June 30, 2016.

An audio clip made from a phone call by Dawn to UK's emergency helpline number 999 was played in the courtroom. Dawn had told the operator that Burling was having breathing problems and was unresponsive. 


She added that Burling could not go to the toilet and so she decided to put a diaper on him. She claimed that Burling was fine half an hour before she made a call and was stubborn to not go to a doctor.

An ambulance was dispatched immediately and reached Burling's house within minutes but the paramedics realized that they were months late to rescue the boy.


He had developed pressure sores on account of not moving from his position. The sores were terribly infected leaving his bones exposed in multiple places.

Burling's father, Steven, had limited contact with the family. The officials found texts indicating that Steven asked about his son's condition. He was not aware of the extent of his son's deterioration.

Throughout the court proceedings, the three women sat quietly on the dock as they faced a principal charge of manslaughter and an alternative charge of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable person.

Dawn pleaded guilty to hiding her newborn child's birth by secretly disposing of the body. The trial to the Burling case is expected to last over six weeks.

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