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Pair set for child cruelty sentence
A mother and stepfather who forced their 11-year-old son to live in a filthy converted coal-bunker have been put behind bars.
Bullied and constantly hungry, the traumatised child was made to live and sleep in the room, described as a "cell" by social workers, and reduced to using a potty as he was locked up each night until morning, Preston Crown Court heard.
The room was described as "freezing" with no heating, a bare lightbulb, concrete walls and floor. The child was left to sleep on a dirty mattress with just a sleeping bag for a blanket.
The boy was put in the room as punishment for raiding the family's fridge, the court heard.
The room was a windowless old out-house with one exit bricked up and a new one added leading on to the lounge of the family home in Blackpool, Lancashire.
When police and social workers visited they removed the child from the room where he had lived for a year, then aged between 11 and 12.
The parents, both in their 40s, cannot be named for legal reasons.
Both have admitted a single charge of cruelty by wilful neglect between January 2010 and January 2011.
Both were due to be sentenced but after hearing the evidence Judge Norman Wright said as the case was so "emotionally charged" he adjourned sentencing until next week.
He rejected pleas from the defendant's lawyers to spare them jail and remanded the pair into custody to await sentencing next Monday.