Girl ‘saw dead grandfather’

Christopher Blackburn
Christopher Blackburn

A man who failed to report his dad’s death for five months and stole his benefits repeatedly invited his 10-year-old daughter to the house where her grandad lay dead, a court has heard.

As Christopher Blackburn (pictured), 29, was sentenced for failing to report Guy Blackburn’s death and stealing £1,869 income support, it was revealed the youngster had made numerous visits to the Penwortham home.

Preston Crown Court heard the defendant’s daughter went to see her dad in Alderfield, while her grandad’s decomposing body lay in a downstairs bedroom.

Kirsten McAteer, prosecuting, said the girl’s clothes smelled of an ‘unpleasant smell’ after she returned from a visit.

The youngster then told her friends and mum that her grandad was dead but was not initially taken seriously.

Miss McAteer, said: “She told her friends in a light-hearted way that her grandad was dead.”

In mitigation Daniel King defending said Blackburn had a drink problem and had suffered depression after losing a son to cot death and two miscarriages his former partner had suffered.

But he conceded the most distressing element of the case was his daughter’s ‘repeated visits to the house’ and the fact she seemed aware ‘something was wrong with her grandad’.

Speaking after the case DS John Cass, of South Ribble CID, said it was likely the child had seen her grandad’s body. She said: “We have not heard from her exactly what she had seen but we have have spoken to her mum and other people. “They are the ones that gave us the indication that she had seen her grandad dead and she had mentioned it to certain other people.”

Sentencing him, Judge Anthony Russell QC, said: “Such offending is abhorrent to all decent-minded people who will be disgusted by your behaviour.

“It was callous and offensive to his friends and family who no doubt have been caused considerable distress by these circumstances.”

Speaking after the sentencing at Preston Crown Court on March 15, Christopher Blackburn’s brother said: “I do not think justice has been done.”