Child cruelty case begins over Northampton couple accused of keeping boy locked in room 'not fit for a human'

A Northampton couple is on trial for allegedly keeping a child locked in a filthy, empty bedroom where he had no choice but to go to the toilet under a radiator.

Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 4:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 4:51 pm
A trial has begun into allegations of child cruelty in a Northampton household.

A trial started today at Northampton Crown Court over a couple's treatment of their children, where they face multiple counts of child cruelty.

It includes allegedly subjected their children to regular beatings, holding one boy against a wall by his throat and leaving another to sleep on bare, dirty mattresses with springs poking out.

But the court heard how one boy was subject to 'differential treatment' - where he was allegedly locked in a filthy, dark room that the prosecutor called 'unfit for human habitation'.

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Prosecutor Grace Hale QC told the court: "Both the mother and father beat him. He wasn't fed properly, or cleaned, and lived in a room not fit for a human.

"That was his life in that house."

The couple denies mistreating any child in the house.

Meanwhile, the mother in the case is charged with multiple counts of failing to protect the children from the cruelty of her partner.

The jury heard how the boy's door - which had holes in it - was locked from the outside and fitted with an alarm.

There was no bed, mattress or any furniture inside this upstairs bedroom. Instead, the walls and floor were covered in the child's excrement.

Police found there was no light bulb fitted, and the blinds over the only window were tacked down in place.

The boy was reportedly only given discarded burgers and leftovers from takeaways.

He was also reportedly left naked in the room.

Miss Hale QC said: "It got so bad that faeces and urine were coming through the roof of their bedroom.

"That was his life in that house. He always had the worst food. And the other children say they were made to hit him as well."

The boy was made to stand in the hallway or run up and down the stairs 'for hours'.

Social services were alerted to the household after one of the children told a member of staff at school in late 2016 that 'my brother is badly treated at home'. The police went to the house that same evening.

The boy was taken into social services that night. Meanwhile, the other children were taken away and interviewed some two months later.

The couple deny any neglect, and that the boy had a 'problem' with 'deliberately' going to the toilet around the house. He denied keeping him in the room and say they had plans to move him into another room with his siblings.

The prosecutor asked the jury: "Who is telling the truth? Are these children lying? Have they cooked up lies? Or are they telling the truth about what happened in that house?"

The trial continues.