Parents in court after leaving children in “horrific” home

York Crown Court
York Crown Court
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A judge expressed his concerns that three young children were left in “horrific” home conditions for months, despite them being monitored by Scarborough Social Services and other agencies.

The three youngsters, aged two, eight and 14 were living amongst cat faeces in a Scarborough private rented home, which had a kitchen with no clean surfaces and rubbish strewn around.

The family were being visited by local social services from 2010, health visitors and a school support worker also being involved, yet nothing was done until October, last year, when a child protection order, because of emotional abuse of the children, was issued.

However, it wasn’t until January, this year, before police officers, accompanied by a social services worker, arrived at the house and took the children into foster care.

Before York Crown Court for sentencing on three jointly admitted charges of cruelty to a child under 16 - one for each child and relating to a period between July, 2011, and January, this year - were their 41-year-old mother and 47-year-old step-father.

After hearing the evidence in the case, Recorder William Lowe QC said that social services had been regular visitors to the house over a period of months, but the fact that the children were left there without matters being put right seemed to him to be “not acceptable”.

The recorder, describing the conditions in the house as “horrific”, added that the consequences were that “matters appear to have been allowed to carry on in this fashion”.

Bronia Hartley, prosecuting, told the court the step-father, an alcoholic drinking three-and-a-half litres of cider, as well as other alcoholic drinks, a day, was often seen by agency visitors to the house with injuries.

She added that at one point the mother, who suffers from mental health issues and also a drinker, described herself as being “hacked off” leaving the family home for a refuge with the children for a time, but returning home.

The court heard that a fourth child had voluntarily left the home and gone into foster care.

Kristine Mercer, for the step-father, said that her client’s health was already suffering and that he had been told that, unless he stops drinking, he would probably die.

She added that in his “drunken and alcoholic way” her ashamed client had tried to put some matter right, but was not capable of carrying them out fully.

After the recorder indicated his sentencing intentions, Simon Revell, for the mother, said that he had nothing to add.

Passing sentence the recorder said that, after taking into consideration all the fact and mitigation, he would only be able to pass a short custodial sentence which, because of the lack of help and support the defendants would receive on their release, was not in either their, or the public’s, interests.

Both were placed under two year community orders with supervision.

The mother was also ordered to take part in a 20 day specified activity with the Scarborough Women’s Project.