Judge Calls For Inquiry Into Mansfield Child Abuse Case

A JUDGE has called for an inquiry into why Social Services did not intervene in the case of four Mansfield children neglected by their mother and stepfather.

Horrific details of the case emerged on Monday when the couple –– both in their early 30s –– were sentenced for child neglect at Nottingham Crown Court.

The four boys, who were aged between seven and 11, lived in ‘utter squalor’ for around five years before they were taken into care and the couple arrested.

Prosecutor Andrew Easteal told the court how the boys:

    * Slept in one room, with a bunk bed and a mattress on the floor.
    * Had three blankets and two pillows between them.
    * Were not given regular adequate meals, had been losing weight and they were dirty and smelly.
    * Had shoes which were too small, while they also had no socks.

As punishment they would be made to sleep on the landing, toys would be destroyed and they would be ‘grounded’ for up to eight weeks at a time.
Investigations showed that up to a quarter of the household budget went on cannabis, which was smoked openly in front of the children.

The court was told that while the children had to endure such conditions, their mother and stepfather lived quite comfortably with a large plasma television and video player –– and ‘enjoyed luxuries’ like beer and cannabis.

During Monday’s hearing, Judge Jonathan Teare commended two women –– a social worker and a school nurse –– ‘for their real efforts in trying to protect these children’.

The social worker had tried to get Social Services to re-open the case on the family but had been told there was not enough evidence.

In mitigation, Stephen Lowne –– representing the mother –– said she had endured a childhood of physical and sexual abuse and had no comprehension of parenting.

“It was more down to ignorance then malice”, he said.

If the children wanted pot noodles they would have them and she would give them money to buy sweets.

Judge Teare told the two accused: “I have to put aside the revulsion and anger I felt when reading the papers and looking at the photographs of your house.”

The couple admitted a charge of child cruelty and the stepfather was sentenced to 12 months prison, suspended for two years, with 150 hours work to do, while the mother was given an 18-month community order, with 80 hours work and a 7pm-7am curfew for three months.