THESE are the shocking conditions two neglected children were found living in – while their “lazy” mother played online poker.
Police today described the house as the “worst they had ever come across” after discovering the girls’ home – including their bedding, toys and uniforms – was covered in faeces and maggots.
Preston Crown Court heard how staff at the youngsters’ school became alarmed after noticing the seven and eight-year-olds were constantly dirty and smelly – and one of them was displaying sexual behaviour. Det Con Jackie Wenn, of Lancashire Police’s public protection unit, told The Gazette: “It was the worst home I’ve come across.
And Judge Andrew Woolman said the case involved “neglect of an extreme kind.”
“It was quite a distressing case. It was just horrible,” said Det Con Wenn.
“The children were constantly dirty and smelly, to the extent the other school children were making adverse comments against them.
“There was human faeces in the house, on the furniture, on the children’s toys, bedding and even on the girls’ uniform. There were no covers on their beds, the kitchen was untidy and dirty.
“Their mother was neglecting the children and not attending to their basic needs. Laziness was part of it. As far as I can see, there was no excuse.”
Problems with the children’s care first came to light in 2009. Despite the mother being given help from the school, Social Services and Barnardos, the youngsters became increasingly socially isolated from classmates and their school attendance plummeted.
Their 32-year-old mum, who cannot be named by order of the court in order to protect the identity of the children, was described by her daughters’ headteacher as “the most indolent person” they had ever met. And one of the defendant’s daughters described how her mother did nothing but play online poker all day.
Det Con Wenn said the children’s living conditions had a devastating effect on their mental well-being, hygiene and education.
She added: “There was a lot of input and intervention from other agencies, including the school which used to wash their uniforms. The school did a really good job in caring for the children and reporting problems. Despite this, the children were still unkempt and socially isolated at school.
“The situation deteriorated and the children were put on child protection plans. It’s so sad.”
The mother was charged with two counts of child neglect between January 1, 2009 and June 9, 2010.
She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to an 18 -month community order and 150 hours’ unpaid work, at Preston Crown Court.
Judge Woolman told the defendant: “The home was quite foul. I’m at a loss, in a way, to understand exactly what it is which caused you to behave in this way.”
Roger Baldwin, prosecuting, claimed the mum had denied there was a problem. He said: “When the defendant was approached by various authorities, she just didn’t appear to be bothered.
“The defendant’s home was in a very poor mess. All the attempts of help by various agencies seemed to come to nought. There was rubbish all over the house, the bathroom was not fit for purpose and there were no sheets on the children’s beds.”
The court heard the defendant had told police: “Everything just got on top of me. It all spiralled out of control and I just gave up.”
But Lee Speakman, defending, said: “Throughout the case she has largely been at a loss to explain why.
“Today she appears a different person. She recognises the state the house was in was utterly unacceptable, that it wasn’t an environment in which children or anything should be living.”
The children are now in care of relatives and are said to have made a remarkable transformation.
Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) today warned parents they take child neglect extremely seriously.
Chrissie Hunt, senior crown prosecutor for CPS North West, said: “This was a very distressing case of neglect. The two children were living in appalling conditions, which meant that they were both physically neglected and socially isolated too.
“These cases are difficult to deal with as we would not want to call children to give evidence against a parent unless it was absolutely necessary, but where there is evidence children are being caused unnecessary suffering because of neglect, as in this case, we must consider prosecution of the parent in the interests of the children.”