Suspended jail term for homeless man found living in car with malnourished toddlers

A homeless man found living in a filthy car with his two malnourished toddlers has been handed a suspended jail sentence for child neglect.

The 24-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been pulled over in Peterborough for motoring offences when officers noticed the children in the back of the vehicle, Cambridgeshire Police said.

The children, aged two and three, were not in proper child seats and appeared gaunt and dirty.

“When (the officers) opened the door they were hit by an overpowering smell of smoke, urine and faeces and there were scraps of food strewn over the car,” a force spokesman said.

“The court heard the children were taken into police protection. Their clothes were found to be wet, their nappies saturated and both had severe and painful nappy rash.

“They were also suffering from a cough, runny nose, high temperature and dehydration.”

The man said he had been living in the car for three days after losing his job.

He admitted at Peterborough Crown Court to child neglect and was sentenced on Monday to a jail term of 10 months, suspended for two years, police said.

He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and complete a 30-day rehabilitation order.

A force spokesman said the smell from the car made officers feel “physically sick” when they stopped the vehicle on February 25 last year.

Detective Constable Greg Stanley said: “This was a shocking case of neglect by someone who should have been there to protect his children.

“It seems the defendant had fallen on hard times after losing his job, but the welfare of his children should have come first.

“We are pleased that justice has been done and these children can hopefully now enjoy a brighter future.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Chris Radburn / PA Wire.