The mother and grandmother of an 18-year-old who was left to ‘rot to death’ in his home have been jailed for a total of seven years.
Jordan Burling, 18, resembled the ‘victim of a Second World War death camp’ when he died in bed in Leeds in 2016.
His mother Dawn Cranston, 45, and grandmother Denise Cranston, 70, were jailed for manslaughter for four years and three years respectively after a hearing at Leeds Crown Court today.
His 25-year-old sister Abigail Burling was jailed for 18 months for failing to prevent him from dying.
Jordan died from acute bronchopneumonia inside the house of horrors which was cluttered – but full of food, a judge said.
When Jordan was finally found, he was covered in bed sores, and was wearing a soiled nappy.
The teenager was so weak and emaciated he did not respond to treatment by paramedics after being found lifeless on a makeshift bed, weighing just 6st (38kg).
Despite his suffering a judge said the family was not on the breadline and in fact there were three fridges stacked with food in the home.
Jordan Burling resembled the victim of a Second World War death camp when paramedics found him lying lifelessly on the makeshift bed, weighing just 6st (38kg), when he perished at the hands of his cruel mother and grandmother
Jordan Burling was barely recognisable from the young man he once was when he was found dying in bed in Leeds
During a search of the Cranston house police also found remains of a dead baby kept in a rucksack for 14 years.
Sentencing at Leeds Crown Court today judge Mr Justice Spencer told the three women it was ‘almost beyond belief’ that Mr Burling ‘should have been allowed to die in his own house, here in Leeds, in 2016, in the bosom of his family’.
He likened images of the teen to photographs of Nazi death camp victims.
The judge said: ‘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.
‘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.’
He said: ‘Through your gross negligence, a precious human life was lost needlessly.’
Dawn Cranston asked police how she would pay for her son’s funeral – and whether she could get refunds for the food she had bought him in the immediate aftermath of his death
Denise Cranston, 70, has been sentenced to three years in prison for manslaughter after the death of her grandson
Abigail Burling, 25, will serve 18 months in prison for failing to step in while her brother was dying on a makeshift bed in her mother’s home
In a statement read outside court, the family of his father, Steven, said he was not aware of the dead baby until police told him about it.
In the past, Jordan’s father said he had urged his mother to take him to the doctors. He also claimed he was banned from seeing his son.
The statement 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.
‘As a family, we feel we have been denied any knowledge of that baby boy’s existence. We have also been denied the quality time we should have had with Jordan if those responsible for his death had got the medical care he needed.
‘We feel betrayed by the people we trusted to care for Jordan.
‘Steven and the family will always remember Jordan having a bubbly and chatty personality.
‘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.’
The court heard Thursday how Dawn Cranston suffers from mental health issues and had struggled with her own father’s suicide. Her own childhood was described as ‘dysfunctional’ in court.
Jordan’s grandmother mother Denise was described as being in the lower 10 per cent of the population for intelligence, Leeds Live reported.
Last week, a jury at Leeds Crown Court unanimously convicted 45-year-old Dawn Cranston of manslaughter, as well as his grandmother, Denise Cranston, 70.
Mr Burling’s 25-year-old sister, Abigail Burling, was found not guilty of manslaughter, but guilty of an alternative charge of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable person.
Mother Dawn (centre today) and grandmother Denise (left) were today found guilty of Jordan Burling’s manslaughter at Leeds Crown Court today. Abigail Burling (right), his sister, was found not guilty of manslaughter, but guilty of an alternative charge
The cluttered home where Jordan Burling was found dead. A judge has said there was plenty of food in the home where the boy died
During the five-week trial, prosecutor Nicholas Lumley QC described the extent of the neglect that the two relatives showed towards the teenager, telling jurors: ‘Jordan had been allowed to decay, to rot to death, by those closest to him, over a period of, at least, several weeks.’
Paramedic Bridget Shepherd, who rushed to his aid, claimed the dying man looked ‘very, very pale and very emaciated’ when she first attempted to treat him on June 30 2016, the day of his death.
She added that his bone structure was clearly visible and that his mother had claimed that he ‘had not been eating for a few weeks’.
A series of witnesses claimed that the 18-year-old’s mother ‘did not seem bothered’ as medics attempted to revive him with CPR, whilst Denise Cranston supposedly remained seated in a nearby armchair.
Dawn Cranston was even heard telling a 999 operator shortly before Mr Burling’s death that his unresponsive state was a ‘blessing’ as it meant she would not have to go work that day.
(L-R) Denise Cranston, Abigail Burling and Dawn Cranston arrive at Leeds Crown Court
Jordan was found inside a Leeds house of horrors and was so emaciated he was unable to survive. His mother had also hidden a dead baby in a rucksack for 14 years
Police Constable Ben McNamara, who arrived at the home of Dawn and Denise Cranston just hours after the teenager’s death, claimed that the first thing the deceased’s mother asked him was how much the funeral would cost.
Referencing the comment, he said: ‘I was surprised by everyone’s lack of emotion. It is a strange thing to say after he had just died.’
Another police officer claimed the deceased’s mother seemed overly concerned about whether she would be able to get refunds for ‘a Zimmer frame and American food’ she had bought her son from Amazon.
Jordan;s mother tried to blame the NHS for his weight loss – but a jury found she was responsible for him losing his life
Giving evidence in the trial, Mr Burling’s mother claimed that he suddenly started to lose weight in April 2016 but refused to go to the doctors after previously being turned away for arriving ‘a minute late’.
Crying throughout her account of the months immediately preceding his passing, she claimed that the teenager ‘suddenly got to the point where he would not move out of the chair or anything like that’.
She added: ‘He did not think he would die. I did not want him to die.’
Prior to the trial, Dawn Cranston admitted endeavouring to conceal a birth after hiding the remains of her dead baby in a rucksack for around 14 years.
Following the verdicts on Tuesday, Gerry Wareham, from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Yorkshire and Humberside, said Mr Burling’s death was ‘one of the most shocking cases’ they have ever dealt with.
He added: ‘These women had a duty of care towards Jordan. However, the CPS showed the court that instead they allowed him to rot to death in his own home.
‘Words cannot begin to convey the extent of Jordan’s terrible suffering at the hands of the very people he should have been able to trust the most.
‘Those responsible for that suffering have been found guilty of causing his death.’
There will now be an investigation into whether or not care services did their job correctly.
Social services became involved in 2001, when a health visitor felt Dawn and Jordan’s father, Steven Burling, were ‘struggling’ and needed ‘parental support’.
A primary school report stated there was a ‘general neglect of Jordan’s basic needs’, and he was lacking toilet training, had black teeth and had few language skills.
He was removed from school by his mother just a few terms into secondary school at the age of 12.
During the four-week trial, Mr Lumley said: ‘He never attended school or college again, never took any examinations or achieved any qualifications.
‘From the time Jordan was taken out of school, he became increasingly anonymous. Education and social services played little part in his life.’