The father of a disabled woman starved to death by her own mum will fight for his “evil” ex to get a longer jail sentence.
Debbie Leitch, who had Down’s syndrome, wasn’t “immediately recognizable as a young female” when paramedics found her dead in her bedroom.
The 24-year-old weighed a little over 140lbs in 2016. But at the time of her death three years later, she was just 52lbs – the weight of a healthy seven-year-old.
Debbie had been neglected and abused by her mother Elaine Clarke at their home in Blackpool.
Clarke was yesterday sentenced to nine years and seven months behind bars after admitting manslaughter by gross negligence 10 days before a planned trial.
But Debbie’s dad Thomas fears she’ll likely be out within just six.
And he said pleas will be made to the Attorney General for the sentence to be extended.
“She’ll be out in six years and able to go on with her life,” he told The Sun Online.
“Being at the court and hearing all of that – it was just horrible. I felt sick.
“It goes to prove how evil Elaine really is.”
Debbie may have died up to 36 hours before her “lazy and selfish” mother called for help.
‘SHE’S PURE EVIL’
Paramedics discovered her body in a room filled with old takeout, used diapers and live maggots.
She was suffering a scabies infection which had gone untreated and caused her hair to fall out and her face to swell and scab.
Thomas, who missed years with his beloved daughter after Debbie was sent to live with her mum by authorities after the couple split, only heard some of the sickening details yesterday.
He said Clarke was raking in $288 a week in benefits to care for the youngster. A relative told the court the defendant spent money on shoes and handbags while her daughter starved to death.
“What was she doing with that money? She wasn’t using it to care for Debbie,” Thomas said.
“I just can’t understand why no one did anything to help Debbie.
“She was dying and no one did anything.”
A judge heard Debbie was in such a state when medics arrived that her clothes had fused to her skin.
Her jumper and trousers were covered in mites and her clothing was soiled.
A post-mortem examination revealed she died of starvation and neglect.
Heartbreakingly, the young woman had “idolized” her mother. At one point, she had a boyfriend and went to college.
But Clarke began to keep the young woman shut away in a filthy bedroom.
After family members spoke of their concern shortly before Debbie’s death – warning the victim “looked like something out of a horror movie” – Clarke hauled her into a bathroom and roughly cleaned her.
Debbie “screamed” throughout the “excruciating” wash as her raw skin was scrubbed.
Social services had been called in, but Clarke failed to keep the appointments. Shockingly, they then dropped their investigation.
Since the tragedy, Blackpool Council has confirmed a formal safeguarding adults review will now take place.
“Elaine was always very good at lying, but it’s like social just said, ‘Alright, case closed’,” Thomas said.
And he told of the moment he looked at his ex as she sat in the dock.
“All she was doing was sitting there and playing with her thumbs,” he said.
“She didn’t even cry. She had no emotion at all.
“It was the same as it was at the funeral – no emotion.”
This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.