Leeds: Child cruelty couple jailed

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A couple have been jailed after police and social services discovered four children covered in bruises and living in squalor.

A truancy officer and a police community support officer were shocked by the injuries to the youngsters when they stopped the family in Leeds market.

One boy had bruises all over his scalp, forehead and face, giving him a “blue” appearance, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Two other boys and a girl also had facial bruises and social services were called.

Social workers visited the couple’s home in west Leeds later that day and found it messy, dirty, untidy and smelling strongly of cannabis.

Mattresses were being used as beds in the living room, with three children sharing one.

There were no towels, toiletries, bed linen or safety gates and the living-room floor was cluttered with tools including an axe, claw hammer, screwdriver, scissors and a lock-knife.

A doctor who examined one of the children said it appeared that they had been assaulted and their adult carers failed to prevent it from happening.

The youngsters were taken into care where the girl told foster carers she had had all her toys burnt by the couple. One of the boys said he was forced to eat “nasty food”.

After their arrest the children’s mother, who was jailed for two years, admitted seeing some injuries to her children and accepted she did not seek any medical help.

Her partner, who was jailed for three years, stated that the children had received no more than a ”tap on the back of the hand” as punishment and the injuries had been caused accidentally. He has previous convictions for animal cruelty,

Both pleaded guilty to four offences of cruelty to a person under 16.

Lawyers for the pair said they both accepted they had neglected the youngsters but it was due to “inadequacy and inexperience”.

They pleaded guilty on the basis that they did not cause the injuries to the children but failed to get them help.

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