THIS is the squalid bedroom of a home where a cruel mum kept her children locked away.
Food wrappers, empty bottles, discarded cartons and dirty clothes are left strewn around the filthy floor.
Children’s charities today slammed the conditions and expressed concerns over this “disturbing case of extreme neglect”.
Yesterday, the Echo revealed how the mum, who cannot be named, would keep her children locked in their bedroom, feeding them crisps for breakfast.
Despite her neglect, this week the mum walked free from court after admitting four charges of child cruelty.
A spokesperson for the NSPCC said: “This is a disturbing case of child neglect. These vulnerable children have been subjected to living in squalid conditions and locked in their rooms for extended periods by the adults who should have loved and protected them.
“Unfortunately, this case will not be unique. We know that almost one in 10 children in the UK are neglected by their parents, leaving them vulnerable to harm.”
Newcastle Crown Court heard that the state of the house was only exposed when a shocked family friend called round.
The children, aged from one to 14, were subsequently spoken to about their plight and it was discovered they were kept locked in their rooms when the elder ones were at school.
Judge Guy Whitburn sentenced the mother, who has her children living with her in a different property with “safeguards” in place with social services, to a community order for two years.
Her ex-partner, who had been living with her, admitted two charges in relation to the children who were locked in their rooms.
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He was sentenced to 26 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.
Claude Knights, director at Kidscape, said: “This is a very sad and disturbing case of extreme neglect.
“One is driven to ask why neighbours were not alerted by the horrendous smell emanating from the premises, and why those in contact with the school age children did not notice any signs or symptoms of neglect.
“It is clear that the mother in this case does require close monitoring and support through safeguards imposed by social services.
“It beggars belief that her ex partner, who was aware of the suffering of these children, did nothing to prevent or report it.”
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Paul Watson, has defended the council’s decision to keep the children with their mother.
He said: “As soon as the situation was brought to our attention in December 2010 appropriate safeguarding action was taken to protect the children.
“Following extensive assessment and a sustained improvement in home conditions which included a house move and a change in personal circumstances, as reported in court, the children were returned home almost a year later.
“They are subject to appropriate safeguarding measures and are being closely monitored.
“Information from the court will be taken into account in future safeguarding planning for the children.”
•Anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected can speak out about their concerns, by contacting social services, the police, or calling the NSPCC on Tel. 0808 800 5000.