Jail for couple who kept boy locked away in dark, filthy bedroom at Northampton household

A couple who subjected their children to horrific acts of abuse at a Northampton household have been jailed for a total of 10 years.

The couple, who cannot be named for legal reasons, showed no emotion today (May 28) as they were sent to prison for six counts of wilful neglect and child cruelty at Northampton Crown Court.

A Northampton couple have been jailed for horrific acts of child cruelty against their children.

A Northampton couple have been jailed for horrific acts of child cruelty against their children.

The very worst of the charges surrounded how a boy was kept locked naked and alone in a filthy, dark bedroom with no mattress or light bulb.

When police found this room, they found the walls and floors covered in excrement. A lock and an exterior alarm were fixed to the door and the blind over the curtain was nailed in place.

"It was nothing less than a cell," said His Honour Judge Michael Fowler in sentencing today.

"When the jury first saw the photographs of the conditions in which [that boy] was kept, they must have wondered what explanation you could advance for what they were looking at.

"And you could do nothing but tell obvious lies and ignore the reality of the offending."

During the five-week trial, the father in the case tried to convince the jury how he did not realise the extent of filthy, unhygienic conditions in the boy's bedroom and claimed he did not even step into the room "for weeks".

The judge called this defence "fanciful", and the jury took only three hours to convict the pair.

The boy was also subjected to beatings, having his genitals squeezed as punishment and fed scraps of food left by the other children in the house.

Meanwhile, the boy's siblings were ordered to beat their brother as a punishment and they themselves were made to sleep on bare, dirty mattresses with springs poking out of them.

This all happened while the Northampton couple slept in their own clean, fully-furnished bedroom and kept several perfectly usable mattresses locked in a spare bedroom.

The judge said to the father: "The children in this case have suffered serious psychological, developmental and emotional harm.

"Until 2016, when the police intervened, you had managed to conceal the true extent of [...] your neglect and active abuse.

"You singled [that boy] out and chose to victimise him. Your motive? I couldn't suggest. Whether you gained some sort of sadistic pleasure from it I couldn't tell. But it was extreme and it must have been malicious."

Meanwhile, the mother in the case was convicted of failing to prevent the abuse being inflicted on her children.

The father in the case was jailed for seven years, while the mother was handed a three-and-a-half year sentence.

READ MORE: Northampton couple's actions "nothing short of depraved", says NSPCC after child abuse case
Anyone concerned about a child can call the NSPCC Helpline for advice and support on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk