Plymouth boy taken from family after living in 'filthy slum'
A YOUNG boy was found in a filthy slum strewn with rubbish and cat mess.
Police officers who discovered the child at the Plymouth property were shocked by the disgusting conditions they found.
The little boy has now been taken away from his family and will be put up for adoption.
His mother, father and grandmother have admitted neglect and have been given suspended prison sentences at Plymouth Crown Court.
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A judge was shown photographs of the boy's home, which an officer said outside court was so revolting it was full of flies – even in January.
DC Kate Hillman, of the police child protection team, said after the case: "These are the worst living conditions I have seen in 22 years of service.
"I have never seen living conditions like this for any human being or even animal."
She said the boy's bedding was stained with urine and there was cat mess in the kitchen. Even the bathroom was filled with rubbish and bicycles.
The officer added: "It is very sad but the good thing now is that, having been taken out of that environment, the boy is thriving and will hopefully meet his full potential, whatever that may be, in his life."
The three family members admitted neglecting a child for whom they have responsibility in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering to injury or health. The family cannot be named for legal reasons.
Judge Paul Darlow, handing all three suspended sentences, said: "All three of you in your own way love this little boy and still do. He brought to your lives a structure and a joy. What we are dealing here is no suggestion of sadistic treatment or of deliberate maltreatment, but one of neglect – neglect born of your own inadequacies.
"From the reports I have read and the photographs I have seen, it is quite obvious you were unable to look after yourself and your home, let alone another sentient, living being."
He said he accepted from the trio's barristers that the biggest punishment suffered by the family was the loss of their son and grandson. The court heard he is doing well with foster parents and has been placed for adoption.
Kelly Scrivener, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "His school was concerned about his lack of progress, his personal hygiene and his unkempt appearance. On many occasions, staff tried to engage these defendants with their concerns. They willfully and persistently rejected help from the school and other authorities."
She said the boy had bruising on his face when he turned up at school in January. Miss Scrivener said the explanation given to staff was that he had hit his head on a door knob, which she said was possible. But she added the injury was reported to police who gained access to the home – which the family had "thwarted" the authorities from doing for a "long time".
Miss Scrivener said: "The house was found in a terrible state. The living conditions were quite simply rancid." She added the boy was immediately removed from the home.
Emma Birt, for the mother, said: "No level of punishment can touch the level of pain the loss of a child has inflicted upon them." She added that all must feel "utter shame and disgrace".
Victoria Hoyle, for the father, said: "No matter how you look at this case, it is desperately sad."
She added he had not contested the court order which had removed the child from the family.
Miss Hoyle said: "He recognises he cannot give him the love and care that he needs."
Nigel Hall, for the grandmother, said she was on antidepressants.
He added adult social care was now involved in the family.
Mr Hall said: "The loss of her grandson will be something which will be with her until she dies."
Judge Darlow gave each defendant 12-month prison sentences, suspended for two years. The father has a 16-week curfew, the others have nominal residential requirements.