Child protection officers say they have "never seen" neglect on the scale seen at a Northampton household in a recent abuse court case.
A Northampton couple was jailed to a total of 10 years in prison today (May 28) for horrific acts of child neglect against their own children towards the end of 2016.
The worst of the charges related to a boy who was kept locked in a room which was smeared with faeces, without light, furniture, toys or books, for prolonged periods of time.
Today, His Honour Judge Michael Fowler described the room as “nothing less than a cell.”
When police raided the home in 2016, they discovered the walls and floors of the room were covered in excrement. An external lock and an exterior alarm were fixed to the door and a blind was nailed in place to keep the room in darkness.
Speaking after the sentencing today, Detective Inspector Michelle Douglas of Northamptonshire Police's child protection team said: “Though the investigation was carried out by experienced officers, they had not previously encountered such extreme levels of abuse and neglect and it was a difficult case for all involved.
"No verdict could counter the very significant abuse these children have suffered at the hands of those who should have protected them.
“The effects for these children are far reaching, but with the conclusion of this investigation, I hope they can now start to re-build their lives.
"The case also serves as an important reminder - safeguarding is everyone’s business and that is why it is so important to be curious and intervene in the lives of children who are suspected of suffering abuse, in order to protect them and bring offenders to justice.”
It comes after a spokesperson for children's charity NSPCC called the parents in the case "nothing short of depraved".
Detective Constable Nicky Webb, one of the officers involved in the case, added: “In 20 years of working in Child Protection I have never before encountered abuse and neglect on this scale.
“Unsurprisingly, this has been a long and difficult case for all involved and I’d like to thank social services, health and education authorities for their cooperation.
“The investigation involved taking evidence from young children who were asked to recall traumatic and distressing events from their past, recounting details of horrific psychological and emotional abuse.
“I hope today’s result brings some closure for these children and that they will be able to start the recovery process and move forward with their lives.”