Trigger warning: this piece contains descriptions of death of a disabled person by neglect and fatphobia in the media surrounding the Kaylea Titford case. Please take care and only read if you feel able.
When I first read about the death of Kaylea Titford, I was shocked: both by the deep neglect she experienced—culminating in her passing at her home in Wales in October 2020, aged just 16—and at how misleading the headlines were.
“Parents killed girl by letting her become obese” Announced BBC News, The Evening standard declared “Father of obese teenager found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence.”
Kaylea was a disabled girl born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus who lived and died in appalling conditions because her parents—enabled by a society that consistently devalues disabled lives—chose not to prioritise her care.
Yet the mainstream media’s primary concern seemed to be that Kaylea was ‘obese’.