Woman with Down syndrome found dead at home from being starved and neglected by parents

Described as a wonderful girl by her bereaved family, a woman with Down syndrome was found dead inside her house with her body in an extremely poor condition. The vulnerable woman’s life was cut short at the young age of 24, and her mother is among those accused in connection with her death.

When officers arrived at the house in Blackpool, UK, they found the body of the woman, Deborah Leitch, who suffered a bad case of scabies skin infection at the time of her death. It was also clear to the first responders that Deborah, also called Debbie by her family, was starved and neglected before her death because her body was found to be severely emaciated.

After she was found dead in August 2019, six people were considered suspects and questioned in connection with the woman’s death.

“Police were called by the ambulance service around 10.40 pm on August 29th, 2019 to a report paramedics were attending an address on Garden Terrace,” wrote the Lancashire Police on Facebook. “Officers attended and sadly found the body of a 24-year-old Deborah Leitch, known as Debbie, deceased inside the address.”

Out of the six people interrogated in connection with Deborah’s death, two of them are due to appear in court, and one of them is Deborah’s own mother, 48-year-old Elaine Clarke.

The post mortem reported determined that the cause of the young woman’s death was severe emaciation and neglect with an extensive scabies skin infection. Now, her mother Elaine is charged with gross negligent manslaughter, and is set to appear in court on  April 20, 2021.

Also charged in connection with Deborah’s death is Robert Bruce, who is 45 years old.

Robert is believed to be Elaine’s former partner and is also due to appear in court on the same day as her. He faces charges of “allowing or causing the death of a vulnerable adult.”

At the time of her death, Deborah was described by her family as someone who was “always happy and always friendly.” But unfortunately, more than a year after she was found dead, her own parent is one of the main accused suspects in the case.

The four other people who were earlier considered suspects were eventually released, and face no charges. 

“A total of six people were interviewed as suspects in connection with the inquiry and following a thorough police investigation and after consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service two people have today (Tuesday, March 23rd) been summonsed to appear at court,” the Lancashire Police department went on to say on Facebook. “Elaine Clarke, 48, of Garden Terrace, Blackpool has been summonsed to answer the charge of gross negligence manslaughter. Robert Bruce, 45, of Windsor Crescent, Leeds, has been summonsed for the offence of allowing or causing the death of a vulnerable adult. Both are due to appear at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on April 20th. Four other people were released without charge.”