Evil couple imprisoned autistic son in attic and let him starve to just 6stone while surrounded by poo & vomit

AN EVIL couple imprisoned their autistic son in an attic and let him starve to just six stone while surrounded by poo and vomit, a court heard.

Lorna Hewitt, 43, and her husband Craig, 42, kept Matthew Langley, 22, locked up in the attic of their family home for seven months before he was found "close to death."

The twisted couple have now been found guilty of false imprisonment.

Matthew was severely dehydrated and weighing just six stone when he was finally found inside the vomit and faeces-covered room at the house in Sheffield, South Yorks.

The Hewitts denied keeping him captive at their home for seven months, but both were found guilty following a trial at the Sheffield Crown Court.

The couple were also found guilty of causing or allowing a vulnerable adult to suffer serious physical harm.

The court heard Matthew was found by paramedics seriously underweight, dehydrated and "with his life hanging in the balance."

Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting, previously said the ambulance service was called to the home in Sheffield, South Yorks., in the early hours of June 2, 2020.

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Matthew was rushed to a hospital intensive care unit in a "pitiable state" with abrasions indicating he had been moving around on all fours, the prosecutor told the court.

He had suffered damage to a kidney with high sodium levels relating to severe dehydration, it was heard.

Mr Campbell added: "His sodium levels were dangerously high. They measured 180.

"They were so high they could shut down his brain and kill him. Anything above 145, there is a real chance of death.

"The Home Office pathologist examined the injuries and said the abrasions and bruises were consistent in his view with Matthew having been crawling on all fours over objects in his path."

Police had found faeces and vomit in Matthew's attic bedroom all over the floor and the bedding along with buzzing flies, a bad smell and a key on the outside of the door, the court heard.

Matthew, who has suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, incontinence, arthritis and learning difficulties, had weighed only six stone when he was found, Mr Campbell said.

Seven months earlier, in November 2019, he had weighed eight and a half stone, the court heard.

However, Mr Campbell said Matthew made a good physical recovery thanks to the hard work of medical professionals and when he was discharged from hospital he weighed 55kg.

Craig Hewitt told police his wife Lorna had found Matthew upstairs lying on the floor and he claimed Matthew had been fed and that he ate in his room.


He also claimed after police found a key on the outside of Matthew's bedroom door that there had been locks on the internal doors because their home used to be a student accommodation.

Mr Hewitt stated to police that his stepson Matthew had only been locked in at night because he would go downstairs and set off security alarms.

Lorna Hewitt chose to give no comment answers to all questions asked by the police, the court heard.

Mr Campbell told the jury: "It's a matter for you that you may think that as the pressures grew they were prepared to gamble with his health in order that he would be taken off their hands and be looked after by others."

Mr Hewitt chose not to give evidence during the trial but his wife Lorna told the jury her son stopped having respite stay-overs because he became fed up with going to the care centre.

But Mr Campbell claimed if they had not cancelled the respite care stays he received he would never have ended up in hospital fighting for his life.

Mrs Hewitt said during the end of Matthew's time at the care home he was not enjoying himself and she assumed he was getting fed up and wanted to come home and he did not want to go out as much.

Mrs Hewitt said she had been anxious leaving Matthew alone on a couple of occasions but there were no other times when he was left alone and she tried to make him as safe as she could.

Mr Campbell said the couple had started locking Matthew in his room at night but Mrs Hewitt claimed he had been left downstairs when they went out.

The jury today found them guilty after deliberating for a day.

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