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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
peopleComedian star of Ed Sullivan Show was mother to Ben Stiller
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?