Couple let childen starve to play computer games
Wednesday, August 31, 03:00 AM
- Anthony and Violet jailed for eight months for neglect
- Children in their care were not clothed, fed or cleaned for some time
- Anthony cites addiction to internet gambling as cause of neglect
Key quote"You have pleaded guilty to charges of neglect to four children, including wilful neglect. In one of the reports, the level of neglect was described as appalling, which I think is a
fair description, and one of the worst witnessed by police and social workers" - Sheriff Stein
Story in full A MARRIED couple played computer games "day and night" while the four young children they looked after were left to starve in one of the worst cases of neglect imaginable.
The children, all under eight, were found to be malnourished, filthy and suffering from "extensive dental problems".
The eldest, who was left to look after the others, was unable to eat because her teeth were so rotten from her heavily sugar-based diet and she later had to have them all removed.
Anthony and Violet from Montrose, were jailed for three months yesterday after admitting charges of neglect, including wilful neglect, of the children in their care between last November and January.
Arbroath Sheriff Court heard Anthony, 28, who was unemployed, had admitted to social workers he was addicted to an internet game which he played "day and night, sleeping for the majority of the day".
A social inquiry report revealed that he "spoke about this game with a great deal of enthusiasm, stating that it 'really caught my imagination and interest'".
Hamish Watt, defending, said Anthony claimed the burden of the blame, citing his addiction to internet gaming.
He said had started playing online games and his wife, 27, had also become engrossed, with the result that they ignored their other responsibilities.
"He freely admits responsibility, as opposed to his wife," Mr Watt said.
Hazel Anderson, prosecuting, told the court that the neglect first came to light on 21 January this year, when a neighbour saw two children standing naked on a window ledge, pulling at the curtains in a bedroom without any apparent supervision. Concerned, the neighbour contacted police and, when officers went to the house with social workers, they found the house was in an "extremely filthy" condition, full of rubbish bags, and with a squalid toilet and kitchen.
The children were lacking food, bedding and nappies, and the youngest child's nappy was heavily soiled. One of the children was asleep on a bare, dirty mattress. Two of the other children were "wandering about barely dressed and dirty", while the third was wearing pyjamas "black with dirt".
The kitchen floor was covered in rubbish and, on closer inspection, was found to be "caked with grime, grease and foodstuffs".
The social inquiry report said: "It is of significant concern that the children were undernourished, unclean and had extensive dental problems, to the point that the eldest child could not eat her food and has subsequently had all her teeth taken out.
"The level of neglect was appalling, one of the worst witnessed by social workers and police. There was a lack of adequate food, bedding, nappies and toiletries, and bags of rubbish were throughout the flat."
Sentencing the pair, Sheriff Stein said: "You have pleaded guilty to charges of neglect to four children, including wilful neglect. In one of the reports, the level of neglect was described as appalling, which I think is a fair description, and one of the worst witnessed by police and social workers.
"This neglect appears to have occurred over a significant period. This is a case of neglect as bad as ever could be imagined."
Angus Council's social work convener, Glennis Middleton, said a full review of the local authority's actions would be carried out to "see if things could or should have been done differently".
She went on: "However, our records show that intensive support was provided to, and indeed accepted by, a couple who were capable of making the improvements needed.
"It is deeply upsetting that, despite the best efforts of our social work team, the situation deteriorated to such an extent that a custodial sentence has been the outcome."
By: JOHN INNES -- 31-Aug-05
I added the text. Liz W.
Edited by: lizwool at: 9/15/05 11:42