37-year-old Marie Sweeney and 38-year-old Margaret Wade have been jailed this month over the death of a malnourished toddler.
2-year-old Lauren Wade passed away in 2015 after she was left starving for several months and riddled with thousands of head lice.
Doctors discovered she was infested with head lice and emaciated when the toddler was brought into the hospital. Lauren was pronounced dead only 30 minutes later.
The smelly, dirty and skinny toddler had bald patches and was covered in thousands of head lice, the High Court heard.
Evidence also showed that the lice had been there for more than 17 months of the child’s life.
Paramedics said that the cover Lauren had been lying on was covered in fleas and lice that they had to decontaminate and clean the ambulance.
A police officer described the apartment as ‘uninhabitable’ and ‘one of the most disgusting houses he had ever seen in his career.’
The court also heard the flat was littered with dirty plates and clothes infested with flies and insects and leftover food.
Wade, Lauren’s biological mother, said she had ‘no guilt’ over her own child’s death.
Sweeney and Wade, who had been in a relationship for 15 years, admitted ill-treating and neglecting Lauren. They also pleaded guilty to similar charges in respect of two other children.
The two were each jailed for six years and four months.
On March 2015, an emergency call was made after Lauren was found unresponsive.
The mother told nurses Lauren had been suffering from a virus but a post-mortem showed the child was too small for her age and had been severely neglected.
The women were told to clean up their flat but they didn’t listen. When a school nurse offered to help with the children’s head lice infestation, the lesbian couple declined the offer.
The children had head lice and tooth decay while the other girls were not provided with proper clothing, the court heard.
“The kitchen was so full of bags of rubbish that there was barely enough space to open the door,” said prosecutor Bill McVicar.
“There were numerous empty Pot Noodle cartons all with flies. Pot Noodle appeared to be the staple family diet.”
He added: “It is clear the failure to provide proper accommodation was a long-standing issue which did not simply emerge in the days or weeks before the death of Lauren.
“Margaret Wade accepted no responsibility for her failings in basic parenting. She said she had no guilt over Lauren’s death.”
What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree that 6 years in prison is not enough for what they did too poor children? Let us know in the comments section!
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