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Couple sentenced for cruelty to children

PUBLISHED: 10:13 18 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 July 2010

A couple whose home was “smothered in faeces” were yesterday sentenced for cruelty to their own children.

The pair from Gorleston, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were each sentenced at Norwich Crown Court to 26 weeks in prison suspended for two years.

A couple whose home was “smothered in faeces” were yesterday sentenced for cruelty to their own children.

The pair from Gorleston, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were each sentenced at Norwich Crown Court to 26 weeks in prison suspended for two years.

The “appalling” conditions came to light when a gas man alerted social services last July after visiting the property.

Inspectors found the house “swarming in flies” amid squalid conditions.

Nick Methold, prosecuting, said that when the couple were asked why their home was so filthy, the female defendant said she was too “lazy” to clean.

The children were placed in the care of relatives until October 2007 when they were returned to the house.

Both defendants earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of cruelty to a child under 16.

Matthew McNiff, for the male defendant, said he was “deeply ashamed” and “trying his level best” to improve the cleanliness of the house. Ian Boyes, for the woman, said she accepted “full responsibility for what happened in this house”. But he said it was a case of “neglect and not deliberate abuse”, adding: “She cares very much for her children and she is quite appalled that it got to the level it did.”

Judge Simon Barham told the couple: “Normally you two would be going straight to prison, but you have made a dramatic improvement to the cleanliness of the house. If I send you to prison, your children, who have suffered enough, will suffer again.”

He handed them 26-week sentences suspended for two years, but warned the couple: “If your standard of care drops, not only will you lose your children but you will go to prison.”

The man must also carry out 100 hours' community service and the woman was subjected to a four-month curfew order.

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