A mother forced her 10-year-old son to live in a squalid coal bunker for more than a year. The boy slept in the outhouse every night and was kept locked up during the day after school for long hours if he misbehaved.
According to the police, the boy lived most of the year in the small room that contained only a soiled mattress, filthy sleeping bag and urine-filled potty. The room had a tiny window and a weak light bulb. The boy was often fed chunks of butter or raw meat.
Daily Mail reports police said the mother kept her son under "barbaric" conditions. The mother, in her 30s, and her partner in his 40s, both lived in the comfortable main house. They admitted to child cruelty in court. They admitted they kept the boy locked up overnight and locked him up also during the day if he stole food from the kitchen.
Police and social workers called at the house after neighbors reported. The couple have not been named to protect the identity of the boy. They pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court on Friday to a charge of "child cruelty by neglect" between January 1, 2010 and January 25, 2011.
The couple, however, did not plead guilty to a charge of ill-treating the boy in "a manner to cause unnecessary suffering or injury." According to Daily Mail, when the boy was asked what it felt like living in the room, he said it "felt like living in a box." and that it was "creepy."
Daily Star reports police were horrified at the discovery. Detective Constable Mat Normanton of Lancashire Police, according to Daily Star, said: “I hope I never come across anything like this again. It was inhumane, barbaric. It was smaller than a police cell. Just big enough for a single mattress and a ceramic potty, which was full of urine. There was no air, it was really stale and cold. There was a small window on the far side which was sealed and a single light bulb that was a bodged job. There was a bowl with some stale food in it.The kid had been scratching stuff on the walls while he was locked up.They would be sitting in their lounge, watching television and he would be in this room with a padlock on.”
Normanton told the court that the couple put the blame on the boy throughout police investigation. Neighbors said they were not aware of what was happening.
The mother and her partner were bailed but will be sentenced on May 18. They were told not to have direct or indirect contact with the boy and not to have any unsupervised contact or communication with a child under 16.