Parents jailed after five children found living in squalor

PARENTS whose five neglected children were found malnourished, unwashed and infested with lice and fleas have been jailed.

The couple's sentencing at Gloucester Crown Court was delayed on Friday when they were admitted to hospital after taking an overdose in a suspected suicide attempt.

On Monday, the mother was jailed for two years and nine months and her husband for two years.

Judge Jamie Tabor said of the couple were not "wicked" and did not deliberately inflict pain and suffering upon their children, the BBC reported.

He added: "In short the degree of neglect was so high and so prolonged that the margin between reckless neglect and deliberate cruelty narrows to a perceptible but very small margin."

The court previously heard that the couple left five children - three fathered by the husband - in squalor from 2007 to 2012.

They pleaded guilty to neglect at an earlier hearing and charges relating to four more children will lie on file.

The siblings, aged up to 14, were shunned by other children at school because they smelled so badly and one teacher was unable to bear being near one of the girls, the Gloucester Citizen reported.

Teachers, doctors and social workers were aware of the problems but the mother failed to keep appointments and follow instructions.

The children were taken away from their parents in November 2012 after a young girl was admitted to hospital with severe nappy rash and the scale of the neglect was revealed.

Police visiting the home found their bedrooms stinking of urine and animal faeces, with dirty clothing on the floors and stale food in the kitchen.

Photos taken by officers showed mould on the wall of a bedroom and ivy growing inside where it had crept in through a window.

Two children old enough to be toilet-trained were still in nappies and the mother tried to treat head lice with mayonnaise, the court heard.

Ahead of their sentencing, the father told the BBC: "We did let our children down. We never stopped loving our children, but we did let them down.

"Not in a neglectful way but in a way of development and growing up."