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Autistic boy, 12, died after two teenagers 'deliberately torched house while his mother was at work'

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Autistic boy, 12, died after two teenagers 'deliberately torched house while his mother was at work'

Post by kangdang on 29.09.10 21:22

An sad story follows, it will be interesting to see if any criticism is levelled towards the mother for leaving her young disabled son home alone whilst she work.



A 12-year-old autistic boy died when two teenagers deliberately set fire to his home, a court has heard.
Damian Clough, who was left alone by his mother while she was at work, was killed by poisonous fumes from the deadly blaze in Keighley, West Yorkshire on April 4 last year.

He was asleep in his bedroom with no means of escape when the fire began

Nasir Khan, 18, and a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had allegedly gone to the family home after sharing almost three litres of vodka-based WKD with friends.
Prosecutor Julian Goose QC told Bradford Crown Court that the youths let themselves into the house at around 9.15pm through the back door and made themselves at home, smoking cigarettes, helping themselves to cans of Vimto and using the computer.
Damian's mother Julie Clough, a part-time barmaid, had gone to work after giving her son his medication and putting him to bed, believing his older sister would soon be home to look after him.
But while Damian was asleep upstairs, two fires were started in the house, one to an armchair in the corner of the lounge and a smaller fire in the washing basket in the kitchen, the court heard.

Mr Goose said: 'It is clear that these fires were deliberately set with two separate flames, one in the kitchen and the other in the lounge.'

Shortly afterwards, the defendants met up with their three friends again, each blaming the other for the fire, the court was told.
Devastatingly, flames engulfed the rented end-of-terrace property before anyone could save Damian, who died of smoke inhalation.
Shirley Crossley, who was babysitting her grandchildren next door, had noticed a smell of smoke and called the fire service who arrived just after 11.30pm.

Mr Goose said: 'Fire officers gained entry to the house when they arrived and found it to be filled with black smoke and very high temperatures, so hot the fuse box melted.
'The fire within the lounge had burned through the ceiling above into the bedroom upstairs.'

Mrs Clough's bedroom, which was above the fire, was heavily damaged by the flames.

Fire officers discovered Damian dead in his bed, and the family dog laid dead outside the closed door of his bedroom.
Damian was severely autistic, with learning difficulties, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and suffered from extreme convulsions.
His 'highly obsessive' behaviour including shredding his mattress and wallpaper.

He couldn't be left to sleep with his door open and he had broken off the internal handle. Mr Goose said his condition meant he was unable to react to any danger.
His mother, who was his main carer, never usually left him in the house alone, but she said had expected her daughter back soon.
Forensic examination concluded the fire was caused by a naked flame applied to the combustible material of the armchair.
The jury were shown footage of the fire damaged property which revealed the blackened rooms and smoke-stained walls of the devastated home.

Khan was arrested the day after the fire and his 17-year-old friend a day later. Both denied starting the blaze and blamed each other.
Mr Goose said: 'With the support of the local authority, Julie Clough was trying to cope the best she could in an extremely difficult situation.
'The fact remains, however, that when the defendants and their friends entered the house, Damian was asleep and alone in his room from which he had no means of escape.
'The prosecution say that both these defendants caused the death of Damian Clough by acting together in setting a fire or fires inside the house and then escaping.

'These two defendants were alone in the house when the fire started, and they left shortly one after the other.
'The evidence will show that the fire was started deliberately. It burned slowly and created dense black smoke and poisonous gases which were left to accumulate for over an hour-and-a-half before the emergency services arrived, by which time Damian Clough had died.'

Mr Goose said it didn't matter whether Khan and the other defendant knew that Damian was upstairs when the fire started, because it would have been obvious that a fire could cause harm to people.

The trial continues


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1316098/Autistic-boy-died-teenagers-torched-house-mother-work.html#ixzz10x5QauTC

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Re: Autistic boy, 12, died after two teenagers 'deliberately torched house while his mother was at work'

Post by Tony Bennett on 29.09.10 21:41

Nasir Khan, 18, and a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had allegedly gone to the family home after sharing almost three litres of vodka-based WKD with friends.

Prosecutor Julian Goose QC told Bradford Crown Court that the youths let themselves into the house at around 9.15pm through the back door and made themselves at home, smoking cigarettes, helping themselves to cans of Vimto and using the computer.

Damian's mother Julie Clough, a part-time barmaid, had gone to work after giving her son his medication and putting him to bed, believing his older sister would soon be home to look after him.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Not good enough - by a very very very long way.

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Re: Autistic boy, 12, died after two teenagers 'deliberately torched house while his mother was at work'

Post by littlepixie on 29.09.10 22:44

It is not right to leave a child like that. The benefits system is forcing all mothers on benefits to work 16 hours a week at the least. I think we will see more and more mothers "taking a chance" and leaving their children to fend for themselves.

eta. I have seen "broken off door handles" on childrens bedrooms before. It makes me feel uneasy.

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Re: Autistic boy, 12, died after two teenagers 'deliberately torched house while his mother was at work'

Post by kangdang on 29.09.10 22:59

No not good enough, but perhaps knowing her circumstances might make her actions a tad understandable.

I can only hazard at guess at what these might be of course, but something along the lines of she isn't paid for time off, she is a single parent (the article does not mention the father of the lad), money is tight, she might not have family or friends at hand for babysitting duties, her daughter was running late, but was expected home shortly... she had to make a judgement call at that moment in time - she made the wrong call.

Slightly different set of circumstances to that of the McCanns and their pals, a bunch of professionals who could afford child care but opted instead to leave their children alone whilst they wined and dined.

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