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Kids found living in ‘Victorian slum’ house of horrors surrounded by dog faeces


A family of eight were found living surrounded by dog faeces in a house of horrors likened to a ‘Victorian slum’.

Police visited the Wirral property several times over the years and were shocked by what they discovered, including a bath full of used sanitary products.

Despite reporting the house of horrors to social services in 2018, it was not until officers visited the property again this year that any action was taken.

The parents of the six youngsters were arrested and have admitted child cruelty, the LiverpoolEcho reports.

Liverpool Crown Court heard police were called to an argument between the couple and entered the property earlier this year.



Police found dog poo, soiled nappies and more in the disgusting home
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Image:

Crown Prosecution Service)




Trevor Parry-Jones, prosecuting, said: “What they were confronted with could only be described as a scene of unutterable squalor, more reminiscent of the Victorian slum era than the 21st century.”

He added: “The officers perhaps generously described it as disgusting.”

Mr Parry-Jones said rubbish was “strewn” throughout the house, the children’s bunk beds and bedrooms were “disgusting”, and “dog faeces abounded” on both floors.

He said: “The bathroom was unusable, the toilet filthy, not having been cleaned for some considerable time, and there was a rodent infestation.”

Officers called for help, evacuated the children and asked another patrol to bring food, clean clothing and new nappies.



The bathroom was described as “filthy and disgusting” by the prosecution
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Crown Prosecution Service)




Both parents were arrested and interviewed.

The dad accepted conditions in the house were “very bad” and the children “could have got hurt”, but claimed he had cleaned up about a month previously.

The mum – who like her partner said she worked “very long hours” – confessed the bathroom hadn’t been used “for years”.

She revealed only takeaway food was eaten in the house and they had a large dog, which made conditions worse.

Mr Parry-Jones said: “She accepted the house was, in her words, vile.”

Photos shown in court included one of a bedroom in a “complete mess”, with discarded tins, plastic trays and wrappers.

A second photo showed a bottle of bleach and dog faeces on the floor.

Mr Parry-Jones said: “The officers described the faeces as being everywhere and disgusting”.



One of the children said the house was “an absolute dump” and “not fit to be lived in”
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Crown Prosecution Service)




School uniforms were stored in a room with old plastic bottles, bags full of rubbish and Pot Noodle containers on the floor.

Mr Parry-Jones said: “The officers indicated that used and soiled nappies abounded in the house – they were just discarded anywhere.”

The prosecutor described the bathroom as “filthy and disgusting” and noted “rodent droppings”.

He said: “The bath again is almost unbelievable in the condition. It’s been used as a refuse tip.”

The court heard the entrance hallway was full of rubbish and the kitchen was “trashed”, with a washing machine door missing and the floor covered in the remains of takeaways and mouse droppings.

The living room had no carpet and the floor was again covered in waste, as were the stairs, causing a trip and “fire risk”, while dangerous plug sockets had “burned out”.

Mr Parry-Jones said the children’s bedrooms were “filthy” and in one drawer could be seen “one of the rodents that caused the droppings, dead inside”.

He read a statement from one of the children, who said the house was “an absolute dump” and “not fit to be lived in”.

The victim said there was no running water, rubbish everywhere and “dog poo all over the place”, which was “disgusting”.

He said the house had been like this “for a long time” and “no one should be living there”.



The bath was used as a “refuse tip”, Liverpool Crown Court heard
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Image:

Crown Prosecution Service)




The victim said: “I would say both my parents are to blame for these conditions. We just need help.”

Mr Parry-Jones said neither of the parents – who both had previous convictions – had sought assistance, despite knowing the house was “dangerous”, “insanitary” and “a real health risk to each of the children”.

He said the children had been taken into “interim care”, but “some might be extremely surprised” to hear the authorities had been involved and concerns raised “for many years”.

The court heard checks were first made in 2010 about the state of the house, and when police attended in 2013 they described it as “unhygienic and dirty”, which was “conveyed to the authorities”.

The charity Catch 22 described the house as “very poor” in 2015; when police visited the premises in 2017 because some of the children were not attending school they said it was “not dirty but poor”; and following two visits in 2018 “police expressed concern to social services about the living conditions”.

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At that time officers said the house was “in poor condition, there was a layer of dirt, no washing facilities, rubbish and mouse droppings and the bath is full of used sanitary products”.

Mr Parry-Jones said: “As a result of the police passing that information on, a child social care worker attended and didn’t assess the conditions as bad.”

He said “fortunately” the disturbance this year brought officers to the house yet again.

However, he said: “The people who have caused this are not those in authority – the cause of this is by the direct inaction or passive actions of both defendants.

“There is effectively no escape from that.”

Liverpool’s top judge has demanded answers on the children’s welfare and what action was taken to protect them – after it emerged social services were first made aware of problems at the house 10 years ago.



A judge has ordered welfare reports on all of the children
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Crown Prosecution Service)




Judge Andrew Menary, QC, said he hadn’t been provided with any evidence about the impact on the children.

Mr Parry-Jones said: “The inference is the children have been brought up in absolutely appalling conditions and it must have had an impact upon them.”

He said it wasn’t clear “how they do schoolwork, how they do anything, how they survive”.

Judge Menary said he required information about the condition of each child when they were taken into care; whether they had suffered physical or psychological harm; and how their lives had been affected.

He said: “It might be surprising social services hadn’t taken action. It might be a symptom of the phenomena where social services place the bar too low in their expectation of parenting skills. I just don’t know what the position is.”

The judge added: “One would hope if the plan is to return the children [to their parents] there is a package of support that social services have contemplated, because it would beggar belief the idea the children would go back without that, given the condition of the property.”







Christopher McMaster, defending the mum, said at one stage social services working with Catch 22 had offered support.

He said: “I’m told by my lay client that assisted a lot, but the funding was cut and the support was taken away.”

Frank Dillon, defending the dad, accepted the way the conditions in the house had been described.

However, he said: “The other side of that coin is how can statutory systems, which are supposed to intervene in these circumstances, so fail these children?”

He said the defence required “chapter and verse” about the involvement of the authorities because while his client accepted his responsibility, “chances were missed”.

Judge Menary said: “It’s surprising if social services paid a visit to this house for a fleeting moment, they would have concluded something was seriously wrong.”

The judge ordered welfare reports on all of the children.

He said these must provide details of the contact social services had with the family over the years, including “whether the lack of long term involvement has been due to a failure on the part of the parents to cooperate, or an assessment at the time that it wasn’t necessary”.

The parents cannot be named because of reporting restrictions put in place to protect the identity of the innocent children.

The parents, who both admitted child cruelty, will be sentenced in November.


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