Blackpool Police speak about 'despicable' mum jailed today for starving her daughter with Down's Syndrome to death

Blackpool Police say a Lancashire mum jailed today for starving her daughter with Down's Syndrome to death showed 'no remorse'.

By Laura Longworth
Thursday, 24th February 2022, 3:58 pm
Updated Friday, 25th February 2022, 7:35 am

Elaine Clarke, 49, of Garden Terrace, Blackpool, was sentenced at Preston Crown Court to nine years and seven months in prison after previously admitting to the gross negligence manslaughter of her daughter Debbie Leitch who had Down’s Syndrome and weighed just 3st 10lbs at the time of her death. Paramedic attended Debbie's home around 10-40pm on August 29, 2019, after a family member found the 24-year-old dead in her bedroom with faeces on the floor and maggots crawling in her room. They spoke with Clarke, who said she knew Debbie had died around 8pm, but waited before calling 999.

A Home Office post-mortem examination gave Debbie’s cause of death as severe emaciation and neglect with extensive scabies causing a skin infection. Police say this left Debbie in such pain she was often heard crying and pleading for help. Mites were found on her body and clothing, with faeces and urine across her body. Her skin and body had wasted away, with her bones visible.

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“Debbie’s death was wholly avoidable. She should be alive and well, living a good and happy life today. That she isn’t lies firmly at the feet of the one person upon whom she relied – her mother, her paid carer.

“We know Debbie came to Blackpool having been a happy, thriving college student. Sadly, in just a few years, she was let down in the most extreme manner by the dark and malevolent personality that is Elaine Clarke. Clarke has shown no remorse at any stage in this lengthy investigation – any tears she has shed were, I am convinced, for the predicament she now finds herself in. She is truly a despicable individual."

Debbie Leitch.