A FIVE YEAR-OLD boy was neglected so badly by his parents he didn’t know what a bath was for, a court heard today.
The youngster also told his foster mother: “Santa doesn’t come to my house any more. I don’t know why because I’ve been good.”
Foster carers found several of his baby teeth had their roots exposed with abscesses and six had to be removed.
A court heard how his mother and step-father, who cannot be identified, kept him in a fly-infested, dog mess-ridden home littered with rubbish and rotting food.
He wandered out of the council house in York and later told police he had “woken up and looked around the house and nobody was home”.
York Crown Court had heard how police then visited the house and found it in unimaginable filth with every surfaced piled high with dirty dishes.
Prosecutor Aisha Wadoodi said: “Every work surface in the kitchen was covered in dirty crockery and rotting food. There was only rotting food in the fridge.
“The floor was covered in dog hair and clothing. The back yard was covered in dog excrement. The lounge contained a double bed that was covered in dog hair and dirt.
“The property was very dirty and unkempt. There was an odour of stale and rotting food and a lot of insects and flies flying about everywhere.”
She said it later emerged the little boy didn’t know what a bath was for or how to be washed.
Ms Wadoodi added: “The foster carer reported that when she first gave him a bath he seemed very frightened and she also observed that he had wax coming out of his ears.
“He showed considerable discomfort while eating. He told his foster carer that Santa doesn’t come to his house.”
The court heard how the boy’s school contacted the mother in 2013 expressing concerns about his hygiene and tiredness.
This was initially ignored before improving and down spiraling towards the end of the academic year.
The prosecutor added that, months down the line, his foster mother now describes the child as ‘a lovely little boy, very chatty, open and likes to please people’.
Victoria Smith-Swain, for the 43 year-old mother, said she had a long history of depression which she described as “forty years of baggage surrounding her childhood”.
The woman and her 42-year-old partner admitted two charges of child cruelty but were spared jail.
Sentencing them at Leeds Crown Court, Judge Rodney Jameson QC described the case as “very unhappy” and involved “very serious” child neglect.
He said: “It is almost inconceivable you let yourself and your child live in this squalor without some psychiatric difficulty.
“You knew the problems that you had and were offered help but didn’t take it.
“I have grave concerns about your failure to accept help. I find this a very worrying aspect of the case.”
The mother was handed a 18-month prison sentence suspended for two years, while her partner was jailed for six months, also suspended for two years.
The couple were also told to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.