February 2022

Sheffield autistic son locked in attic revealed as couple jailed

A vile mum and stepdad who left their starving autistic son locked away in an attic room have been jailed.

Lorna Hewitt, 43, and her husband Craig Hewitt, 42, of Walkley Road in Sheffield were found guilty after a trial at Sheffield Crown Court last month and have now been jailed for six years.

The jury heard how the evil couple left 22-year-old Matthew in the room that was covered in rubbish and human faeces and had no toilet or washing facilities for him to use for seven months.

Food was delivered in a box to Matthew as he was not allowed to eat with the rest of the family. Medical experts told the trial he must have only been fed a few hundred calories a day.

The Hewitts’ horrific crimes came to light when paramedics were called to the house after Matthew collapsed in June last year. Experts estimated he was just a few days from death and was covered in bruises and abrasions.

His finger and toenails had been allowed to grow so long they were causing him pain and his teeth were also severely stained with orange plaque. The court heard Matthew had to be cleaned by nursing staff upon his arrival at hospital.

Judge Michael Slater told Sheffield Crown Court during the sentencing on Friday that during the seven months Matthew was kept prisoner he “must have experienced increasing feelings of anxiety, confusion, anger, loneliness and pain as he crawled around on his hands and knees.

Following the trial, South Yorkshire Police released shocking pictures of the room where Matthew was kept prisoner.

The court heard that at the time of Matthew’s collapse, his mother was suffering from anorexia, and his stepfather from depression.

As he jailed Lorna Hewitt to a sentence of six years for causing/allowing serious injury to a vulnerable adult and false imprisonment, Judge Michael Slater told her the crime had amounted to a “grave abuse of trust by a mother to her son.”

He added that she was well aware of support available from social services and medical authorities but “during that time approached neither in a significant way while Matthew wasted in his attic bedroom.”

Craig Hewitt was also jailed for a total of six years for causing/allowing serious injury to a vulnerable adult and false imprisonment.

They will both serve up to half of their sentences in custody before being released on licence.