Neglect mum faces jail term

Preston Crown Court

Preston Crown Court

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A MOTHER faces jail after her children were found living in a squalid house with rooms like a “prison cell”.

Jade Cunliffe, 23, of Crystal Road, South Shore, pleaded guilty to two offences of child neglect and abandonment resulting in unnecessary suffering to their health.

Her two children - a three-year-old daughter and four-year-old son – were discovered shivering in a cold, “uninhabitable” house, which had no electricity, decaying food in the fridge and smelt of urine.

Blackpool Magistrates were told police child protection officers went to the house after being contacted by worried social workers.

A police officer involved in the child neglect case described the three-year-old girl’s bedroom as “being devoid of anything nice – like a prison cell.”

The officer found the boy, who was still wearing nappies, asleep on the floor of his bedroom which was three storeys up and had a broken window.

Dana Gledhill, prosecuting at Blackpool Magistrates Court, said: “The police were greeted by a vile smell. The house was very cold and filthy in every room.

“They said it was uninhabitable and there was no electricity. What food there was in the fridge was decaying. The children were shivering because of the cold.

“This is a very serious case of neglect.

“This woman showed a lack of appreciation of the normal standards and how far below those standards she allowed her children to live.”

The children were examined by a doctor after they were removed from the house.

The girl was dishevelled with matted hair and the doctor said blotches on her legs had been caused by the cold in the house in midwinter.

She was well below the weight level for a child of her age.

The boy was difficult and aggressive and had not been potty trained.

Cunliffe was arrested and in interview maintained she thought the house was a “good environment” for children.

The magistrates also heard nursery staff had had to wash the children’s clothes.

Brett Chappell, defending, said: “Reports have now been prepared on her and they recommend she is sentenced to more than 12 months jail.”

Cunliffe will be sentenced at Crown Court. She was bailed on condition she has no unsupervised contact with the boy and girl.