A REVIEW is being launched into the support given to two young brothers who were imprisoned and abused by their parents after it emerged they came to the attention of social services several years ago but the case was closed.
Corin Holmes, 39, and his 41-year-old wife Linsley, were jailed for five and four years, respectively, this week after they admitted a seven-year campaign of terror against her two sons.
Grimsby Crown Court heard the boys, who are now aged 17 and 19, weighed just 5st 6lb and 6st when they were discovered after being locked up in their bedrooms for as long as 23 hours a day.
The court was told the boys were:
Forced to take cold showers in the garden with a hosepipe
Forced to ask permission to use the toilet, which was sometimes refused
Had their mouths washed with soap and water if they swore
Given just two meals a day but risked having food taken away if they dropped any while they were eating.
Both boys are said to have flourished since being removed from the house in Grimsby last year but are still receiving support.
However, North East Lincolnshire Council said its social care team first came into contact with the family “a number of years ago” following a referral but declined to say when.
It said intervention and support was provided but the case was closed because there was “no identified ongoing need at that time”.
The investigation that led to the couple’s arrest began in February last year when one of the boys came forward to report the abuse.
Paul Cordy, head of vulnerable children at the council, said: “A referral was made to North East Lincolnshire council’s children’s social care in February 2011 after one of the boys disclosed abusive treatment to him and his brother by their birth mother and stepfather.
“The referral was discussed with Humberside Police, a joint S47 child protection investigation was initiated and resulted in the arrest of Corin and Linsley Holmes. A multi-agency package of support was initiated at the time of the referral and the boys continue to receive support appropriate to their needs.”
Craig Ferris, acting chairman of the North East Lincolnshire safeguarding children board, said in a statement: “The LSCB is undertaking a review of the support provided to the family by all the involved agencies in order to determine if there are any lessons to be learnt from the way in which agencies worked together to safeguard the boys.
“Any identified learning from this review will be implemented locally across all the agencies involved to continue to improve inter-agency safeguarding practice and processes.”
Both defendants admitted two counts of child cruelty and two counts of false imprisonment. Corin Holmes also pleaded guilty to a separate charge of voyeurism after he secretly filmed intimate footage of a female neighbour.
He was jailed for one month for this offence to run concurrently and was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for seven years.
Judge David Tremberg said the abuse had a “seriously damaging” effects on the boys’ physical health and emotional well-being, and their childhood had been “stolen”.
Speaking after the hearing, Detective Constable Jason Nutting of Humberside Police, said: “Information came to light suggesting these young men had been seriously neglected by their parents.
“Specialist officers from the Humberside Police public protection team worked with colleagues from North East Lincolnshire Children’s social care and thoroughly investigated the circumstances. As evidence was gathered, the concerns became substantiated and it was clear that serious offences had been committed.
“I hope the young men involved can now put this behind them, and I am extremely proud of the way they conducted themselves throughout the investigation.”