Mother kept children in 'slum-like' house that smelt of urine

A mother who kept her five children in slum-like conditions has admitted five counts of child cruelty.

Social workers found children covered in dirt and rubbish strewn around the house in Wellingborough, Northants.

The "stench" of urine and vomit was so overwhelming one social worker was sick, Northampton Crown Court heard.

But the judge said he would not part the woman, who for legal reasons cannot be named, from her children, and gave her an eight-month suspended jail term.

When officers from social services entered the house in July last year they found the downstairs in an "appalling" condition.

'Collapsed and drunk'

There were pools of urine on the floor, excrement on a duvet in the living room and the fridge left open with mouldy food inside. There were empty food cans on the landing.

Adam Pearson, prosecuting, said: "The stench of vomit and urine was so strong that one of the social workers was physically sick after returning to the office."

Matters came to a head on 13 July when the woman, in her 30s, was found collapsed and drunk outside a fish and chip shop in the town.

Mr Pearson added: "When emergency services tried to revive her they found her children around her trying to rouse her saying 'Mummy wake up, mummy wake up'.

"They were very distressed."

The woman was later arrested and admitted five counts of neglect amounting to cruelty.

When the children's GPs were interviewed, they said the children had missed several appointments and were behind on their immunisations.

'Neglect is shocking'

Gary Shaw, mitigating, said the woman was now working with social services.

"I think that the penny has finally dropped. She realises just how close she is to going to Peterborough prison," he said.

Judge Michael Fowler, sentencing, said: "By 2011 matters had deteriorated and deteriorated so that your children were being brought up in conditions seen in the slums that were far too common before the Second World War.

"That was brought about by economic circumstances, but in your case it was brought about by your lack of ability to cope."

He also sentenced her to a two-year supervision order and a requirement to attend a 15-day course on education, training and employment.

"The neglect is shocking, but if the social services are not going to take the children away from you then I'm not taking you away from the children," the judge said.

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