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Killer mother more worried about dog -BBC's headline not mine. Warning not very nice.

(25 Posts)
ElenorRigby Fri 27-Jun-08 19:03:33

"As her daughter lay dying in a bedroom without food or water, Sabrina Hirst talked on the phone of her pet dog's feeding problems.

Police said this epitomised the behaviour of the callous mother, who allowed three-year-old Tiffany Wright to suffer in "abject squalor and degradation".

The 22-year-old was told she had "failed utterly" in her parental responsibilities to her daughter.

Her behaviour contributed to what the judge in the case said was probably the worst case of child manslaughter "there can be".

Tiffany died of malnutrition in an insect-infested room covered in dog faeces at the Scarborough Arms pub, in Upperthorpe, Sheffield.

I cannot describe the hate that I feel inside me, not just for these two people, but also for their close family
Martin Wright, father

Tiffany's mother was jailed for 12 years after admitting manslaughter.

Her stepfather Robert Hirst, 44, was jailed for five years for child cruelty.

The conditions in which Tiffany died in September last year were so horrific that Sheffield Recorder Judge Alan Goldsack QC said he was surprised the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had not pressed ahead with a murder charge.

Tiffany's natural father Martin Wright said he could not describe the "hate he felt inside" towards the Hirsts for the way his daughter was neglected.

'Long course of neglect'

"Unlike some cases involving child cruelty, neither of you have learning or other difficulties which might at least in part explain the situation," the judge told the couple.

He said Tiffany's mother had nine good grade GCSEs and went on to study A levels.

"That you either did not know she was dead or, if you did, chose not to report her death until much later is the most potent evidence of the way you both failed utterly in your parental responsibilities to your daughter," the judge told the Hirsts.

As a father it's one of the most harrowing cases I've been involved with

Acting Det Ch Insp Dave Powell

"The evidence which has emerged is that Tiffany's death was the culmination of a long course of neglect by the pair of you."

The couple often left Tiffany unattended and locked in the living quarters.

Social services had warned Mrs Hirst to stop doing this but she had brushed their concerns aside, the court heard.

The judge said: "One almost unbelievable piece of evidence is that on what was probably Tiffany's last day alive you, Sabrina Hirst, were discussing on the phone concerns you had about one of your dogs' weight and feeding problems.

Robetr Hirst
Robert Hirst told his wife they would get "banged up"

"In my judgment all those factors make this about as bad a case of child manslaughter as there can be."

He told the court Mrs Hirst would have been jailed for at least 22 years if she had been convicted of murder after a trial.

Speaking after the case, Tiffany's natural father Martin Wright said he could not believe the Hirsts had let his daughter lie starving in filth as they were "gorging on food just a few feet away".

"I cannot describe the hate that I feel inside me, not just for these two people, but also for their close family who were supposed to have been there on a regular basis, who could not have failed to see the condition she was living in yet did nothing," he said.

"This tiny girl's life has been tragically taken away at such a young age when she should have been playing and having fun like any child that age."

Acting Det Ch Insp Dave Powell said: "As a father it's one of the most harrowing cases I've been involved with."

He said a full inquiry was under way into whether social services or any other organisation were at fault in the case. "


2shoes Fri 27-Jun-08 23:47:34

thanks fo r that

madamez Fri 27-Jun-08 23:51:32

Do we all really, really need to read about that? In that much detail? Cases such as this are horrible but very, very rare, it's not like we all need a gentle helpful reminder to feed our DC and not lock them into rooms full of dogshit.

buzzcocks Fri 27-Jun-08 23:53:26

And again, where was her natural father in all this. Thats what makes me mad in all of these cases.
YES Her mother let Tiffany down
YES Her step father let Tiffany down.
YES Social Services let her down.
BUT Tiffany's dad let her down too.

buzzcocks Fri 27-Jun-08 23:55:26

And again, where was her natural father in all this. Thats what makes me mad in all of these cases.
YES Her mother let Tiffany down
YES Her step father let Tiffany down.
YES Social Services let her down.
BUT Tiffany's dad let her down too.
Her dad really let her down too, by not being there for her when she needed him, absentee father or not, she NEEDED him too.

yerblurt Fri 27-Jun-08 23:59:58

hang about buzzcocks, you nor I know nothing about the situation regarding the father.

you have already sterotyped him as an "absentee" father.

I would reserve your judgment until we know the full circumstances of the parenting circumstances...

colacubes Sat 28-Jun-08 00:18:24

Jesus, if you try to understand the mind of a complete and utter selfish, vile pig like this, you will send yourself mad.

The father is at fault for being absent, if he was absent he can not be responsible for the circumstances surrounding her death, but he is responsible for not being there to protect her.

Its a truly horrific case, and I can not believe that nobody could have helped her, wheter that be the social workers or the members of the public who called her the china doll, cause she looked so frail and white as she stared from the window above the pub,

Those people are just as responsible, and her mother should rot in hell for all eternity and feel nothing but agonising pain throughout, I think I can honestly say, this is truly somebody I would happily strangle the life out of with my own bare hands.

buzzcocks Sat 28-Jun-08 00:24:33

Hang on a minute, I said absentee father or NOT I was not classing him an absentee father .. I was saying how can he comment on what they did to her, when if he sees her he would notice she was not well. I was under the impression he was a part of her life.

buzzcocks Sat 28-Jun-08 00:27:09

I mean, that he said in an earlier statement that he was part of her life, if that was the case why did he not protect her, what happened to him being there when she needed him. Starvation/malnutrition doesnt happen in a couple of days.

buzzcocks Sat 28-Jun-08 00:29:52

and in the statement to the press, it says ... Tiffany's death was the culmination of a long course of neglect
so ... where was daddy, the man who said he was part of her life.

CasperGhost Sat 28-Jun-08 00:40:02

I dont remember the natural father saying he was part of the little lasses life. If he was why did he say that the lass had close family around her.

motherofminime Sun 29-Jun-08 00:32:56

I just want to clarify something for you ladies - Martin Wright was NOT an absentee father through choice!!! He was systematically pushed out of her life and even Tiffany was kept away from close family members by her mother - she is a wicked person and as I knew the family at the time, I can tell you that they are all to blame for her death as concerns had been raised many times about her capabilities as a mother yet the family did nothing.
A tragic end to a beautiful girls life should not start a debate over Martin Wrights absence. He is a young man who is mourning the loss of a daughter he was refused access to see - please do not pass judgement in his hour of sorrow.

VeniVidiVickiQV Sun 29-Jun-08 00:49:26

Why didnt they just give her up to social services ffs?

expatinscotland Sun 29-Jun-08 00:55:23

why didn't they just dump her in a police station or hospital and walk away? say i can't cope and put her up for adoption?

traumatic, but at least she'd be alive and with a foster family and have medical care and social work support just now.

i just don't get it.

like that neil entwistle thingy. why didn't he just fuck off to eastern europe somewhere where no one would really know how to track him down or care enough and start living his life again?

VeniVidiVickiQV Sun 29-Jun-08 00:57:37

Indeed expat. But, worse still - SS were involved - surely they must have been keeping an eye on this poor child more closely under the circumstances????

expatinscotland Sun 29-Jun-08 00:59:58

i'm beginning to think SS are only interested in child snatching from the likes of good mothers like Frances Lyon and not the Victoria Climbies and Tiffanys of this world.


cupsoftea Sun 29-Jun-08 01:00:17

read in the daily mail that she was 8 months pregnant - wonder what happened to this child - hope that he/she has a loving home

expatinscotland Sun 29-Jun-08 01:00:52

FWIW, SIL was dumped at SS by her junkie, prostitute mother.

Best thing she ever did for her.

She's alive, she's healthy, she's a mother herself now.

donnie Sun 29-Jun-08 13:33:21

I agree with colacubes: if you try and understand where people like this are coming from you will send yourself mad. It is a dreadful case, I kept hearing it on the radio on friday and looking at my youngest who is also 3 - and comparing them. It made me weep.

What angers me is that the CPS did not go for a murder charge.

rookiemater Sun 29-Jun-08 22:19:57

Both this case and the one where the mother left her 2 year old to fend for himself for the weekend have left me wondering what is it that social services actually do ?

The abuse and neglect had been going on for a long time, at what stage is it deemed bad enough to take the child away ? Tragically in this case, never is the answer.

We seem to live in a society where the rights of the parents are more important than that of the child. Surely if they are that worried about a child and they have evidence of it being locked up then they must have good enough reason to remove it from a parents "care" and allow that child to be put up for adoption with loving caring parents.

Its tragic but it will keep on happening unless something changes with the system.

madamez Mon 30-Jun-08 00:27:35

The thing is, though, the times SS do intervene and take a child out of a neglectful or abusive home don't make headlines or even a paragraph at the bottom of page 13 underneath the story about the bloke who grew a carrot shaped like Osama Bin Laden. Nor is there much news coverage of the times SS accept that someone may be unconventional but is actually a good parent.
THings turning out all right is not news fodder.
Yes, sometimes SS get it wrong, and sometimes really awful things happen, but that doesn't necessarily mean the entire system is wrong.

rookiemater Mon 30-Jun-08 13:57:30

You are right madamez, I was thinking a lot about this after I posted last night.

It must be hard to make those decisions and I guess it is easy for me to talk when I am not involved. However I do feel in this case that it sounds as if there were enough warning signs to have raised some sort of alarm bells. Locking a child away for long periods unattended isn't unconventional, its just wrong in anyones book.

The thing is that my mum used to be a paedaetrican ( and I can't even spell it correctly) and she said that the height and weight graphs were great indicators if a child was being looked after correctly and I can't help thinking that in this instance, with the forensic report that she was being fed and growing intermittently, this should have been obvious. And yes again, there could be a perfectly good medical reason for that, but this coupled with the admittence that the child was locked away for long periods, I know its easy to be an armchair critic, but it just seems so needlessly sad.

madamez Mon 30-Jun-08 21:28:06

Rookiemater: it may well be that the SS individuals in this incidence were not good at their jobs (or maybe severely overworked): the caseworkers who should have rescued Victoria Climbie were pretty useless. But that doesn't mean that SS in general or even in the majority of cases are incompetent or misguided, it just means that cases when they do the right thing are not news.

mazz2 Mon 07-Jul-08 21:50:36

There is an e-petition at
against the sentence these 'parents' received. If this little girl's death shocked and saddened you sad then please take a minute to sign the petition.

neil2445 Thu 17-Jul-08 20:38:31

I am a photojournalist whose covered Bosnia and Northern Ireland, exploring the ills of society, but this case on our doorstep turns my stomach - I'm a dad of two toddlers and I hate this stuff.
Can anyone tell me what the Social Services did in this case; I've heard they went to the pub but were told to 'f' off; so they did. Its those times when they need to be breaking doors down, not scuttling away back to their nice middle-class detached house. I intend to work on this one.

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