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Hamzah mother's 'threat to son'
A mother of eight who starved her four-year-old son to death told his older brother not to tell anyone or she would kill her other children, a judge has been told.
Tariq Khan, who has admitted failing to bury the body of his brother Hamzah Khan, made the claim during an interview with police read out at Bradford Crown Court today.
A judge is hearing submissions ahead of sentencing Amanda Hutton, 43, who was found guilty yesterday of Hamzah's manslaughter.
Today, Paul Greaney QC, prosecuting, said that Tariq, now 24, told police that "if he said anything, she would kill the rest of the children".
Hamzah's body was found in a cot in Hutton's Bradford bedroom in September 2011, amid scenes of utter squalor.
Five other school-age children were found amid the debris.
Tariq is also facing sentence today.
Judge Roger Thomas QC was told that one of Hutton's neighbours alerted social services to her concerns about the family six months before Hamzah's body was found.
Mr Greaney said the neighbour contacted social services in March 2011 as she was concerned about things she had observed.
The woman, who cannot be named, said she did this because of children crying and not being comforted, threatening voices towards the youngsters, blinds never being open and children not playing outside.
In a text message the woman wrote about her anonymous call to social service, she wrote: "Better to be safe than sorry."
Mr Greaney said the history of what happened after this was "complex" but social services, education services and the police "were all involved to a greater or lesser extent".
But, the prosecutor said, these activities did not result in Hamzah's body being discovered and the other children being rescued.
Mr Greaney said a serious case review into Hamzah's death was under way.
He said whatever was or was not done by the relevant agencies "should not detract from the shocking and disgraceful conduct of Amanda Hutton involving six of her children".
"She killed Hamzah, no one else."
Judge Thomas told the court the role of various agencies with Hutton's family will not form part of today's sentencing exercise.
The court heard how Tariq told probation officers how his mother held a knife to the throat of one of the children two days after Hamzah's death.
He also said his mother threatened to burn down the house.
The court heard that the text message from the neighbour about her social services call in March 2011 read as follows: "I rang social services today about next door because I kept hearing the children crying for long periods and no-one goes to them.
"And I heard a Asian lad being verbally abusive towards them a few times now.
"And.....smelt vodka on the mum's breath in the early afternoon the other day.
"The kids never, ever play out.
"I've never seen one of them the whole time they've been there.
"And the blinds are closed in every room 24/7
"I just rang and I told them all that and said 'I'm not making accusations but I have concerns for the children's welfare'.
"Better to be safe than sorry."