Gillian Hendry and Craig Dick, both 34 have been jailed on charges of child neglect after failing to notice that their 12 year old son had gone blind in one eye. Too busy to notice because their son along with his two year old sister were forced to live in filth, a home infested with flies, rotting food and used nappies. Too busy to notice cause the parents had neglected to look at their son in the face in such long time, that they failed to notice his pupil in his left eye had gone white….
Subsequent to the charges, a UK court would hear that the couple’s son eyesight in his left eye could have been saved had the parents had made an effort to make appointments for their son to tend to cataracts which had begun to form.
The court would also hear that the unnamed boy became increasingly crippled with a form of juvenile arthritis until his doctors called in social services chiefs so they could give him the treatment they feared he critically needed.
When social workers went to the house in Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees in August last year the couple would not let them inside.
Instead the social workers returned with cops who were shocked by what they found, prosecutor David Crook told Teesside Crown Court.
Photographs of the couple’s home, who were living on public assistance would show the house in an ‘appalling state of filth and mess,’ told Crook. The staircase he would note ‘was littered with trodden-in food and bin bags stuffed with dirty nappies.’
Adding: ‘The kitchen was infested with flies, and upstairs had a squalid toilet and a bath that was filled with cold, dirty water.’
One bedroom had been used as a toilet, and the children’s beds had no covers and filthy mattresses – which had turned damp and mouldy in the girl’s cot. By contrast, the couple’s bedroom was relatively tidy – although they said that they slept downstairs.
The children were immediately taken into care. The boy now lives with his natural father, and the girl, who was fathered by Dick, is being put up for adoption.
Lawyers for the couple said they were unlikely to have responsibility for any children again. Peter Wishlade, defending Hendry, said she ‘let everything slip’ because she claimed to be depressed.
He said: ‘Other than that, I don’t know how this has happened, I cannot give any explanation.’
Jim Withyman, defending Dick, said he was a man who could not even take care of his own personal hygiene.
He would reiterate that, ‘I feel this was inadequacy rather than a deliberate attempt to cause harm to either child.’
Withyman also told how his client Dick sobbed before and throughout the hearing, as well as having had to endure a troubled childhood himself.
Offered Judge Howard Crowson at the time of sentencing: ‘The conditions we have seen in the photographs are appalling. To speak of indolence or the particular hygiene standards of yourself really does not explain it.
‘It is impossible to use that as an explanation when you tried to prevent the entry of the social services or the police, knowing the state was unacceptable.’
Hendry was jailed for two-and-a-half years and Dick for two years and two months after they admitted two charges of child neglect.
[Image via University of California]