Kids forced to live in squalor

David BalePolice who visited the 'filthy' home of a couple who left their children in 'utter squalor' had to leave because of the stench, a court heard.David Bale

Police who visited the 'filthy' home of a couple who left their children in 'utter squalor' had to leave because of the stench, a court heard.

Among the items police found at the first floor flat were cat excrement, used nappies, mice poison and decaying food, all close to a baby's cot.

The parents, who are in their twenties and thirties but cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared for sentencing at Norwich Crown Court yesterday.

Both had earlier admitted two counts of child neglect, on a boy aged six and a girl aged eight months, and the father had also admitted common assault on his nine-year-old son.

The mother was handed an 18-months community order and must do 175 hours unpaid work. The father was jailed for four months suspended for two years and also ordered to do 175 hours unpaid work. No order for costs was made. The two young children are now back living with their parents, who have subsequently tidied up their home.

Prosecutor Joanne Eley said a welfare check was carried out at the couple's home in Gorleston on July 30 last year.

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She said: 'When police attended they were overcome by the nauseating smell emanating from within.

'The whole place was also in a chaotic state which meant it was very hard to move about. There was decaying food, cat excrement and used nappies on the floor, blue crystal from mice poison on the furniture, and it was all dirty and smelly.

'The sheer odour meant the police were unable to remain for very long and had to leave.

'There were also dark stains on the bed sheets, grime on the cupboards and also a cold donor kebab near the baby's cot.'

The court also heard that the father had slapped his eldest son in July last year, when the boy was staying with his grandmother, also in Gorleston.

Ms Eley added: 'The boy was slapped around the face and cheek for being cheeky to him.

'The man's mother, whom the boy was staying with, said the boy had taken some money from her purse.'

Andrew Thompson, defending the husband, said his client accepted the living conditions were completely unacceptable.

He said: 'He recognises he needed a wake-up call. Both the children were well-nourished and in good health.'

Mr Thompson said the dad had only had sporadic contact with his eldest son whose bad behaviour had overwhelmed him, and the boy was now with foster parents.

Nicola May, defending the wife, said: 'She has shown a great deal of remorse, and has never sought to blame anyone else. She was suffering from post-natal depression which was spiralling out of control. There was no question that the children wore inadequate clothes or were malnourished.'

Recorder Guy Ayers said photographs showed the home was in 'utter squalor' and 'dirty and filthy'.