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Call for Investigation into Matthew's Neglect

Call for Investigation into Matthew's Neglect

We are appalled and shocked to hear that a mother and stepfather kept their autistic son, Matthew Langley locked in his filthy attic bedroom on Walkley Road, Sheffield for seven months without anyone realising his plight.

When found by paramedics following his collapse, Matthew , who also has learning difficulties, arthritis and incontinence, was close to death, weighing just six stone (39kg) and was severely dehydrated. His parents Lorna and Craig Hewitt, were convicted at Sheffield Crown court of ‘causing or allowing a vulnerable adult to suffer serious physical harm’. Following the verdicts, Judge Michael Slater told the defendants to expect a prison term “of some length” when they are sentenced on 18 February.

During the trial it emerged several organisations had not picked up on the problem, despite Matthew having stopped using their services, and Sheffield Council had not replaced a social worker who had been visiting him.

WARNING More graphic details are given in a news article about the trial so please only read if you feel able to do so.

We call for an urgent investigation into how this vulnerable young man was left without any support to safeguard him. Too often people with learning disabilities and/or autism fall through the gaps in service provision and lessons must be learned and acted upon to avoid this neglect and near tragic situation ever happening again in our city and elsewhere. We welcome the review ordered by Sheffield Council.

We hope that Matthew is recovering well from his trauma and is now receiving the care and support he clearly needs to enable him to live and enjoy his life however he chooses.


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