Comments (0) A Devon couple have escaped jail after being been handed a suspended sentence for cruelty to their son.
Exeter Crown Court heard the boy, now 10, was told by his father that he ‘did not want him in the family’.
Over a period of several years the child suffered neglect at the hands of his parents, the two people who should have been caring for him.
Cruelty included locking him in his room after school without a meal and sometimes with only a bucket to use for a toilet.
The child also had his toys taken away and was seen by neighbours on a number of occasions wearing shorts and a T-shirt alone outside in the rain.
Both defendants pleaded guilty to child cruelty but claimed some of the boys allegations were exaggerated.
They were each handed a 16 month jail sentence, suspended for two years.
Prosecutor Brembridge told the court the there was a disagreement between the crown and the couple about the extent of the cruelty.
He said the allegations had come to light when the boy’s teacher asked him why he looked out of sorts.
The boy said he had wet himself and had been locked in his room at home.
The teacher reported the incident to the child protection officer.
When police became involved the boy told them he was regularly locked in his room and had been banned from seeing his friends.
The couple would tell him he had been naughty and would be in his room ‘six days a week’.
“There were times when he was made to go without breakfast and lunch,” said Mr Brembridge. “For tea he would be given a Pot Noodle.”
The defendants would tell him he had been naughty, that he stole and told lies.
Members of the boy’s extended family said they had been worried about him wearing inappropriate clothes in the autumn.
They described the boy as a handful but ‘delightful’ and polite.
A neighbour saw the boy drinking water from another neighbour’s outside tap. One of them would give him food.
Both defendants were of previous good character.
Robert Linford, mitigating for the female defendant, said she admitted occasionally denying him a meal when he had misbehaved and sometimes not providing proper clothing.
Mr Linford said the case was at the low end of the cruelty threshold.
“Some aspects of the boy’s interview are just not correct,” he said.
Jason Beal, representing the father, said the boy had sometimes bore the brunt of his short temper but his client was not a sadistic man.
Judge Phillip Wassell said he had to sentence the defendants on their basis of plea which amounted to wilful ill treatment.
He told the mother to serve 200 hours of unpaid work.
Both defendants were also given periods of supervision
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