In 2016 Jordan Burling was found by paramedics in his home, dead as a result of starvation. They had been phoned by Jordan’s mother, Dawn Cranston, saying he had been ill for a few weeks, suffering from breathing problems. On the phone she had told paramedics,
“He was fine half an hour ago he was chatting and talking. He's so stubborn he wouldn't go to the doctors.”
But, far from a situation where Jordan died as a result of his stubbornness, the courts and many witnesses are now testifying that Jordan’s close family—including his mother, sister, and grandmother—were complicit in his death, and all three now face charges of manslaughter. Paramedics found Jordan weighing just 37kg, or six stone, wearing a soiled diaper and riddled with bedsores. Mr Lumley, the prosecuting QC, sums up Jordan’s condition as follows:
“Jordan was lying, utterly helpless, on an inflatable mattress in a cluttered living room.
“He was little more than skin and bones, he weighed 37kg, less than six stones. He wore a soiled nappy under some pyjamas.
“The expert dietitian said they had never seen such malnutrition in 26 years and likened the condition of the body to that found in WWII extermination camps.
“His heart stopped, his life could not be saved; he expired in that living room.
“For reasons which may never be understood, Jordan had been allowed to decay, to rot to death, by those closest to him for at least several weeks.
“There was no other reason for his death, no natural or other illness, apart from the conditions created for him by the accused.”
During the trial it was stated that Jordan died of acute bronchopneumonia, a condition made fatal by malnutrition, immobility and infected bed-sores.
Now more details about the house and circumstances surrounding Jordan’s death have emerged. It was revealed that Jordan left school at 16 to be home schooled by his mother, but he was not seen again by friends or his father, who had separated from the boy’s mother early in his life. Prosecutors point to texts from the boy’s father as evidence that Dawn Cranston conspired to keep Jordan hidden from people who might’ve tried to help:
“I've been told by your mother not to come. I told you to take him to the doctors and you won't listen to me. He's not the same person,” he wrote.
“The last ten years have been spent battling depression, anxiety attacks and sleeping two hours a day.”
Meanwhile Mr Lumley also told the court of another startling discover – the body of a newborn baby that had been folded and stuffed into a plastic bag before being hidden in a rucksack.
“Within what would have been Jordan's bedroom, officers found a small rucksack, within which were plastic bags inside plastic bags.
“As the police handled the rucksack, a rancid smelling liquid began to seep from the layers of bags.
“Amongst the liquid were tiny bones, all that remained of a baby boy.”
Dawn Cranston now faces possible charges of concealing the birth of a child by secretly disposing of its body.
The three women all face a charge of manslaughter and a secondary charge of allowing the death of a vulnerable person.