THESE sickening pictures show the “inhumane” cell where a young Blackpool boy was locked up by his cruel mother and her partner.
The 10-year-old boy was forced to live in a padlocked outhouse which contained just a single, soiled mattress and potty for a year ...while the couple enjoyed the comfort of their home.
Detectives investigating the case today said they had “never seen anything like it” and described the cell as “barbaric.”
The boy’s mother, who is in her 30s, and her partner, a man in his 40s, locked the boy in the cell every night and sometimes during the day if he “stole” food from the family’s kitchen.
Det Con Matt Normanton, of Blackpool Police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “I’ve never seen anything like it – I hope I never see anything like it again.
Det Con Normanton added: “The child was found to be kept in a cell, living in poor, inhumane conditions. It was smaller than a (police) cell. It was just big enough for a single mattress and a ceramic potty which was full of urine.
“The kid had been scratching stuff on the walls while he was locked up. It’s barbaric.
“There was no air, it was really stale, and cold. There was a small window on the far side which was sealed and a single light bulb that was a bodge job. There was a bowl with some stale food in it. It’s nothing short of being a prisoner.”
He said the man and woman admitted they kept him locked in there overnight. During the day they would send him in there if he was naughty and stole food from the kitchen. He would be eating lumps of butter and raw meat.
He added: “They would be sitting in their lounge, watching television and he would be in this room with a padlock on.”
The pair, who cannot be named in order to protect the boy’s identity, pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court yesterday to a charge of cruelty to a person under 16 by neglecting a child between January 1, 2010 and January 25 last year.
They pleaded not guilty to one other charge of ill-treating the boy in a manner to cause unnecessary suffering or injury.
Their pleas were accepted by the prosecution at the hearing.
Concerns about the boy’s welfare were reported to Blackpool Police’s public protection unit last year.
When police and social workers attended the house they found the boy living in horrific conditions.
He was given medical attention and placed into care y.
Police discovered the ‘cell’ was effectively an old outhouse which was built on to the property.
It had been boarded up from the outside and a wall knocked through from the family’s lounge to make an entrance, which was padlocked.
When interviewed by police the boy explained ‘it felt like living in a box’ and said ‘it was creepy.’
Since being placed into care, the boy has told detectives he feels happy, especially because he has got a toothbrush and can play on the park.
Det Con Normanton added: “Throughout the investigation process, the blame was put on the child.
“He was ostracised from his family. There were obvious concerns about his health and appearance.
“We are satisfied by the pleas which have been entered which means the child is not going to have to give evidence.”
Judge Anthony Russell warned the boy’s mother and her partner they could be jailed.
He told them: “You should understand all sentencing options, including custody, will be open to the judge.
“That will depend on all matters placed before the court, both by the prosecution and you and also what is said in any reports prepared on you.”
The man and woman have been bailed for sentencing on Friday, May 18. Their bail has conditions not to contact the boy directly or indirectly and not to have any unsupervised contact or communication with a child under 16 unless supervised by the social services.