Blackpool mother accused of starving her disabled daughter to death appears in court

Elaine Clarke, 49, had previously pleaded not guilty to the unlawful murder of her daughter Debbie Leitch, who was found at their home in Garden Terrace in the South Shore on August 29, 2019.

An autopsy revealed Miss Leitch, who suffered from Down syndrome, died of severe emaciation and neglect with an extensive skin infection of scabies.

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Deborah Leitch

Clarke appeared this morning for a pre-trial review at Preston Crown Court with co-accused Robert Bruce, 45, of Windsor Terrace, Rothwell, who pleaded not guilty to causing or allowing Ms Leitch’s death between January 2019 and August 2019 while living in the house.

After the hearing, a second pre-trial review was arranged for the couple on December 20.

The case is scheduled to go to trial on January 31, 2022 and is expected to last four weeks.

An inquest into Miss Leitch’s death was opened at Blackpool Town Hall on November 5, however, a full inquiry will not be heard until the trial is over.

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