'A scene of utter depravity': Little girl unable to say her name or eat with spoon when police found her living in 'inhumane' squalor at south Leeds house

A three-year-old girl found living in 'inhumane' conditions at a house in Leeds was unable to tell police her name and did not know how to use a spoon to feed herself.

By Tony Gardner
Saturday, 14th March 2020, 6:00 am

Police came across a 'scene of utter depravity' when they forced their way into the property in south Leeds where she lived with her parents.

Officers made the discovery when they were called to reports of a domestic incident at the house.

Leeds Crown Court heard disturbing and tragic details of the "severe neglect" which the child had been subjected to.

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Leeds Crown Court

Police went to the house at 5.22am and the door was answered by the child's mother.

She had injuries to her face but refused to let the officers inside then closed and locked the door.

A short time later the father came to the door and spoke to the officers.

He was arrested and handcuffed.

The officers then entered the property and were faced with an "overwhelming stench" of vomit and faeces.

The living room door was partly blocked by broken toys.

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A needle was found on top of one of the child's toys.

Surfaces were covered in mould and cigarette butts were strewn across the floor.

The little girl was in the corner of the room covered by a blanket.

The kitchen sink was filled with dirty laundry and out-of-date mouldy food was in the fridge.

Two more uncapped needles were found on top of a child's toy kitchen.

The officers went upstairs to find the bedrooms full of clutter.

A broken cot was on the floor of one of the bedrooms along with a broken bedside table.

The bathroom was in a filthy state. A glass of water on one of the surfaces contained sharp kitchen knives.

The officers went to comfort the child but she was unable to communicate with them or say her own name.

She had no clothes on her bottom half.

There were no suitable clothes for her in the house so an officer went out and bought her some.

The officer also bought her a dummy to replace the filthy one she had in her mouth.

The child was asked if she had had anything to eat.

She lifted up the blanket to reveal a broken candy cane and a stale scone.

Describing the child's physical condition, Miss Gilmore said her hair was so dirty and matted that it had to be cut.

The girl had sores on the lower part of her body and a scratch on her nose that had bled.

Her teeth were also in a poor condition.

A doctor who examined the child said she had suffered as a result of severe neglect.

The soles of her feet were black with dirt and she had patches of eczema on her legs.

The child was taken to Elland Road police station where officers gave her some food.

The prosecutor said: "She did not appear to know how to use a spoon to eat cereal and used her fingers instead.

"She did not know how to drink from a Fruit Shoot bottle."

The parents were arrested and the child's father initially refused to comment when interviewed.

He went on to claim that the house was "in a bit of a state".

He told officers he was glad he had been arrested as he was planning to "get things sorted".

He went on to admit that he and his partner took £45 worth of drugs every day but claimed not to take them in front of the child.

The mother denied the offence after being arrested and refused to comment.

The court heard the father has previous convictions for theft, burglary, criminal damage and handling stolen goods.

The mother has no previous convictions.

The defendants, both aged in their thirties, pleaded guilty to child cruelty.

The child is no longer in the care of either parent.

The father's barrister, Ryan Donoghue, said his client had managed to work to support his family for five years until returning to abusing drugs before the neglect of the child took place.

Mr Donoghue said: "He looks back on those events with deep regret and shame.

"He was so overcome by his addiction that he was unable to care for his daughter."

Rukhshanda Hussain, for the mother, said she had relapsed into taking drugs after she was subjected to domestic abuse.

She said: "The defendant's daughter being removed from her has left her feeling depressed.

"She does not have any motivation to address these issues."

The father was sent to prison for 16 months.

The mother was given a 16-month sentence, suspended for 18 months.

She was also made the subject of a nine-month drug rehabilitation requirement and ordered to complete a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement programme.

Judge Simon Phillips QC said: "What confronted officers was a scene of utter depravity.

"The pair of you had responsibility for that child in your care and you failed that child miserably."