Matthew Langley Sheffield: Lorna and Craig Hewitt found guilty of imprisoning son in attic at family home
A stepfather and mother have been found guilty of imprisoning their son in the attic of their family home.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how Craig Hewitt, aged 42, and Lorna Hewitt, aged 43, of Walkley Road, Walkley, Sheffield, had both denied falsely imprisoning Mrs Hewitt’s 22-year-old son Matthew Langley in the attic of their family home and neglecting him during a seven-month period.
But a trial jury found both defendants guilty of false imprisonment between November, 2019, to June, 2020, and guilty of causing or allowing a vulnerable adult to suffer serious harm between the same dates.
Concerning Craig Hewiit, Judge Michael Slater told the defence counsel: “Bail is inappropriate here. The defendant has been convicted of serious charges and as you indicated a prison sentence of some length is most in my mind at the moment.
"I also bear in mind that the jury are not aware of other factors and it may be the safest place for him.”
Judge Slater also refused bail for Lorna Hewitt because she too faces imprisonment.
Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting, had told the jury how an ambulance was called to the Hewitts’ home in the early hours of June 2, 2020, where Matthew Langley was found seriously underweight and dehydrated with his life hanging in the balance.
Mr Langley, who is autistic and has suffered with irritable bowel syndrome, incontinence, arthritis and learning difficulties, had weighed only 39kg when he was found, according to Mr Campbell, but seven months before in November, 2019, he had weighed 53.6kg.
Mr Langley was admitted to a hospital intensive care unit in a “pitiable state” with abrasions indicating he had been moving around on all fours and he had suffered damage to a kidney with high sodium levels relating to severe dehydration, according to Mr Campbell.
Police revealed they had found faeces and vomit in Matthew’s attic bedroom over the floor and bedding along with buzzing flies, a bad smell and a key on the outside of the door.
Craig Hewitt claimed to police Mr Langley was being fed and he claimed there were locks on doors because their home used to be student accommodation. He also claimed Matthew had only been locked in at night so he did not set off security alarms.
Mr Hewitt chose not to give evidence during the trial but his wife Lorna Hewitt had claimed to the jury her son stopped having respite stay-overs because he had become fed up with going to the care centre.
But Mr Campbell claimed if Craig and Lorna Hewitt had not cancelled the respite care he received at Blossom View, High Green, Sheffield, he would never have ended up in hospital fighting for his life.
He added Mr Langley was well thought of at Abbey School, in Rotherham, Talbot Specialist School, at Norton Lees, Sheffield, and at Hillsborough College.
But Hillsborough College was shocked when the Hewitts withdrew him, according to Mr Campbell, with a plan for him to go to Burton Street Centre.
Mrs Hewitt said she had been anxious leaving Matthew alone and she tried to make him as safe.
Judge Slater remanded both defendants in custody and adjourned the case for sentencing on February 18.