Wirral parents let six daughters live surrounded by mouse droppings and dog dirt in house

Wirral parents let six daughters live surrounded by mouse droppings


A mother and father who let their children live in ‘appalling’ filth today walked free from court.

Six girls were forced to survive in a house surrounded by dog dirt, mouse droppings and used nappies in Wirral, Merseyside.

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, said it looked as if ‘the filthy contents of a skip have been emptied in every room’.

However, he said jailing them would have a harmful impact on two children over 16 now back in the mother’s care – and the other victims may not be returned to them ‘for a very long time, if ever’.

The parents, who admitted child cruelty, cannot be named due to reporting restrictions protecting the identity of their innocent victims.

A mother and father who let their children live in 'appalling' filth today walked free from court. Six girls were forced to survive in a house (above) surrounded by dog dirt, mouse droppings and used nappies in Wirral, Merseyside

A mother and father who let their children live in ‘appalling’ filth today walked free from court. Six girls were forced to survive in a house (above) surrounded by dog dirt, mouse droppings and used nappies in Wirral, Merseyside

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, said it looked as if 'the filthy contents of a skip have been emptied in every room'. However, he said jailing the couple would have a harmful impact on two children over 16 now back in the mother's care - and the other victims may not be returned to them 'for a very long time, if ever'. (Above, a dead mouse in the property)

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, said it looked as if ‘the filthy contents of a skip have been emptied in every room’. However, he said jailing the couple would have a harmful impact on two children over 16 now back in the mother’s care – and the other victims may not be returned to them ‘for a very long time, if ever’. (Above, a dead mouse in the property)

Judge Menary gave them each two years in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 15 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days. 

Liverpool Crown Court heard police were called to an argument between the couple earlier this year.

Judge Menary said: ‘Frankly, nothing can have prepared the officers for what they would find.’

He said that to say the house was ‘not fit for human habitation’ would understate the ‘appalling conditions’.

The judge said: ‘There really are no words to describe it. Without meaning to be gratuitously graphic, the photographs I’ve seen, taken by the police… show rooms that look as though the filthy contents of a skip have been emptied in every room.’

'The bathroom didn't function properly and the toilets were utterly vile,' said Judge Menary. The parents, who admitted child cruelty, cannot be named due to reporting restrictions protecting the identity of their innocent victims

‘The bathroom didn’t function properly and the toilets were utterly vile,’ said Judge Menary. The parents, who admitted child cruelty, cannot be named due to reporting restrictions protecting the identity of their innocent victims

Foster carers said the younger children arrived with 'ingrained dirt' and complaining of not having eaten because there wasn't food in the home. The parents failed to seek medical intervention for one child who had sight problems and another had double incontinence, but these issues have cleared up

Foster carers said the younger children arrived with ‘ingrained dirt’ and complaining of not having eaten because there wasn’t food in the home. The parents failed to seek medical intervention for one child who had sight problems and another had double incontinence, but these issues have cleared up

He said ‘unbelievably’ the couple had a dog which had ‘free rein’ and ‘used every room apparently as a toilet’.

Judge Menary said: ‘There were mouse droppings and dead mice throughout the house. The bathroom didn’t function properly and the toilets were utterly vile.

‘There was no semblance or opportunity really for any activity resembling normal, healthy family life.’

He added that the children lived on takeaways, snack bars, school breakfast clubs and meals cooked in ‘squalor’.

Trevor Parry-Jones, prosecuting, previously outlined how the home was ‘more reminiscent of the Victorian slum era’.

He said officers called for help, evacuated the children and asked for food and clean clothing, before the victims went into care.

Judge Menary demanded a report from Wirral council on the children’s welfare and what action was taken to protect them – after it emerged social services were first made aware of problems at the house 10 years ago.

Having read the report, he today said there had been ‘extensive, directed intervention by social services’ and other agencies.

Foster carers said the younger children arrived with ‘ingrained dirt’ and complaining of not having eaten because there wasn’t food in the home.

The parents failed to seek medical intervention for one child who had sight problems and another had double incontinence, but these issues have cleared up.

The mother confessed the bathroom hadn't been used 'for years', said only takeaways were eaten, the home was 'vile' and she'd let it get that way

The mother confessed the bathroom hadn’t been used ‘for years’, said only takeaways were eaten, the home was ‘vile’ and she’d let it get that way

Mr Parry-Jones said the children were well behaved and polite, but all had ‘educational attainment levels well below expected targets’.

He said the parents were fined for the children’s ‘sporadic’ school attendance and the youngest was not in nursery, had no routine and spent days with her father, who had drinking problems, while the mother was at work.

When arrested, the father accepted the conditions were ‘very bad’ but claimed he’d cleaned up about a month previously.

The mother confessed the bathroom hadn’t been used ‘for years’, said only takeaways were eaten, the home was ‘vile’ and she’d let it get that way.

Christopher McMaster, defending the mother, said photos showed work since done by her to renovate the home.

Judge Menary said: ‘It begs the question why it wasn’t done before.’

Mr McMaster said she had been working very long hours, six days a week, but now worked four days.

She has split up with the father and her long-term goal is to get all of her children back.

A pre-sentence report found she ‘loves her children and she is emotionally invested in their care’ but ‘it would appear she has over committed herself to the detriment of the children and their welfare’.

Referring to the council report, Frank Dillon, defending the father, said: ‘I still say there have been some missed opportunities. As long ago as 2013, this property was said to be in an extremely poor state.’

However, he said because of depression and ‘perhaps finding comfort in drink’, his client’s inability to cope increased, he became ‘overwhelmed’ and, having adopted a ‘passive’ state of mind, was ‘unable to take advantage of the help offered to him’.

Pictured, the filthy bath at the house. Judge Menary gave each parent two years in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 15 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days. He told the father to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, and the mother 80 hours of unpaid work and a three-month home curfew, from 8pm to 6am daily

Pictured, the filthy bath at the house. Judge Menary gave each parent two years in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 15 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days. He told the father to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, and the mother 80 hours of unpaid work and a three-month home curfew, from 8pm to 6am daily

Mr Dillon said: ‘He’s in effect suffered the loss of his family through the neglect of his children. That’s likely to be at least in the medium term, if not forever.’

Judge Menary said it was clear neither parent was ‘inadequate as such’.

He said they both had jobs, the mother worked long hours, and he suspected the ‘burden of childcare’ fell on her.

The judge said: ‘It is perhaps a testament to the resistance of children that they have survived their ordeal as well as they have.

‘The reality is that together you simply were unable to cope with the demands of that many children. Despite the enormous investment of time and effort and money by a host of agencies, you were unwilling or unable to engage or to change.’

He said while two children over 16 had returned to the mother, all those under 16 were in care.

Judge Menary said: ‘It may be that they will not be returned to your care for a very long time, if ever. That represents, I accept for both of you, a very significant loss.’

The judge said it appeared the children were ‘thriving’, but it was impossible to know the long-term effects on them.

He said: ‘I don’t doubt that you each love your children. There is no evidence of deliberate cruelty or the infliction of harm. This was no more but no less than chronic and very serious neglect.’

Judge Menary said a report suggested both wanted to tackle their issues, including the father’s mental health and ‘chronic’ alcohol problems.

He said: ‘Many members of the public, on reading about this case, would think you both should go immediately to prison for what you have done, or rather what you have failed to do, and that’s failed fundamentally to protect and nurture your children.’

However, he said jailing them would have a significant harmful impact on some of their children and they had worked hard to improve the situation.

Judge Menary gave them each two years in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 15 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days.

He told the father to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, and the mother 80 hours of unpaid work and a three-month home curfew, from 8pm to 6am daily.



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