Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Friday, 27 June 2008 18:28 UK

Mother jailed over child's death

Sabrina and Robert Hirst
The couple left three-year-old Tiffany in an insect-infested room

A woman whose three-year-old daughter died of malnutrition in "filth and squalor" has been jailed for 12 years.

Tiffany Wright was neglected by her parents in the Sheffield pub they ran, the city's crown court heard.

Sabrina Hirst, 22, was jailed after admitting manslaughter and her husband Robert Hirst, 44, was jailed for five years for child cruelty.

Judge Alan Goldsack described the case as "about as bad a case of child manslaughter as there can be".

The court heard Tiffany's decomposed body was found in an insect-infested room in the Scarbrough Arms pub in Upperthorpe, Sheffield, in September last year.

A pathologist said the child had been dead for between two or three days.

Post-mortem tests showed she had not eaten or drunk anything for at least 20 hours.

The squalor almost defies description for any human being to live in
Jeremy Richardson QC

Tiffany died as a result of bronchial pneumonia which was a direct result of malnutrition, the court was told.

CCTV footage found at the pub showed Sabrina Hirst working in the bar as normal days before her daughter died.

At one point she had a phone conversation inquiring if her dogs had been fed.

Sabrina Hirst's barrister said even by his client's version of events the sick child had been last checked at 0700 GMT on Friday 7 September, before she was discovered dead in the early hours of the following Sunday.

The court heard the family lived above the pub and Tiffany was raised in "abject squalor and degradation".

She was frequently left with no supervision in a room covered in dog faeces and bare electrical cables poking from wall sockets.

Prosecutor, Jeremy Richardson, QC said the squalor "almost defies description for any human being to live in".

Robert Hirst became involved with Sabrina Hirst in 2004 and married her in 2006.

[How] a person can change from being so possessive with a child from birth to someone who didn't care...beggars belief
Martin Wright, Tiffany's natural father

The court heard he initially wanted to formally adopt Tiffany but later seemed to become more detached from her.

He told police he was working as a delivery driver's mate in the week before the child died and he had not seen her.

In statement read outside court by a police officer, Tiffany's natural father, Martin Wright, said he could not understand how his daughter had been left to die in squalor.

"To think that a person you know can change from being so possessive with a child from birth to someone who didn't care, and did not love the same child and while they were themselves gorging on food just a few feet away their own child was starving and lying in filth, beggars belief.

"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."

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