A mother has been accused of starving her four-year-old son to death and keeping his mummified corpse in a cot in her bedroom for almost two years.

In horrific scenes described as disturbing "even hardened officers," Hamzah Khan's body was found still dressed in a baby-gro when police made the "dreadful discovery" at his house in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

amanda hutton

The mummified corpse of a four-year-old boy was found in a cot in his mother's bedroom

The little boy died when he was four-and-a-half years old on December 15 2009, but the court heard how his remains were found 21 months later in clothing intended for a baby aged six to nine months – clothes that fitted his tiny body.

"Hamzah's growth had been stunted," Paul Greaney QC said, opening the case for the prosecution.

"It had been stunted because he was malnourished over a lengthy period and that state of affairs resulted in his death.

"In short, he starved to death," he said. "How had a child starved to death in 21st century England?"

Details of how Hamzah's body was found in September 2011 were outlined when his mother Amanda Hutton went on trial at Bradford Crown Court today. The 43-year-old denies her son's manslaughter.

The court heard how the mother, an abuser of alcohol and cannabis, ordered pizza within hours of her son's death and continued to claim child benefit for him.

He said: "Amanda Hutton failed to provide her child with the nourishment that he needed to survive and, in so failing, she killed him."

Mr Greaney said Hamzah's body was found after police community support officer Jodie Worsley spoke to Hutton and became concerned about the smell coming from her house.

Eventually, more police arrived and went into the property.

"What they discovered disturbed even hardened officers," he said.

Describing the moment officers entered the room where the child's cot was kept Mr Greaney said the officers were faced with "conditions of squalor."

"Within that cot, beneath other items, he found the mummified corpse of a child."