Parents who neglected five children take overdose before court hearing

Their children in Gloucestershire were malnourished and had lice and fleas

Parents whose five neglected children were found malnourished, unwashed and infested with lice and fleas have taken an overdose before a court hearing.

The couple, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were due to be sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court on Friday when they were admitted to hospital.

Steve Young, a barrister for the defence, said they were “not fit to be sentenced”, the Gloucester Citizen reported.

“They are not so seriously ill that there are still concerns for their lives,” he added.

Sentencing has been delayed until Monday and the couple will receive care from a psychiatric team over the weekend.

Judge Jamie Tabor told the court it could have been a suicide attempt, the BBC reported.

He said: “I have no idea whether this is attention seeking, sympathy seeking or just people that are desperate.

“But I have got work on the basis this is a genuine attempt to take their lives and I am concerned about the weekend.”

The court previously heard that the couple left five children – three fathered by the husband - in squalor from 2007 to 2012.

They pleaded guilty to neglect at an earlier hearing and charges relating to four more children will lie on file.

The siblings, aged up to 14, were shunned by other children at school because they smelled so badly and one teacher was unable to bear being near one of the girls, the Gloucester Citizen reported.

Teachers, doctors and social workers were aware of the problems but the mother failed to keep appointments and follow instructions.

The children were taken away from their parents in November 2012 after a young girl was admitted to hospital with severe nappy rash and the scale of the neglect was revealed.

Police visiting the home found their bedrooms stinking of urine and animal faeces, with dirty clothing on the floors and stale food in the kitchen.

Two children old enough to be toilet-trained were still in nappies and the mother tried to treat head lice with mayonnaise, the court heard.

Ahead of their sentencing, the father told the BBC: “We did let our children down. We never stopped loving our children, but we did let them down.

"Not in a neglectful way but in a way of development and growing up."


Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage

nflAtlanta Falcons can't count and don't know what the UK looks like
Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London