Worthing couple sentenced over child cruelty

A Worthing couple have been sentenced for child cruelty after police officers found two small children in a flat in filthy, squalid and unhygienic conditions.

Marc Wearing, 28, and Charlotte Bond, 26, were sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday 23 March, after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.

Each was given a two-year sentence, suspended for two years, was ordered to carry out 300 hours community punishment and 30 days rehabilitation work. Wearing was also ordered to pay £450 court costs.

On 25 March last year police had been called to Littlehampton Road, Salvington, Worthing, after a report of flies and a bad smell coming from a flat.

On arrival the two defendants were found to be living in squalid conditions with the two children, aged between one and five years old.

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The flat was full of rubbish, rotting food on kitchen surfaces, bags of human excrement and excrement on the walls, and many black bin bags of rubbish.

Detective Constable Lindsey Van-Buiten from the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit said: "Attending officers described the conditions as the worst they had seen in their police career, and described the overwhelming smell and tens of thousands of flies inside the flat. Local people who called the police even thought there must be a dead body there."

The two children were immediately taken to safety and are receiving the care and support they need. They are both healthy and doing well.

In sentencing the pair, Judge Christine Laing said: "The first thing you should have done was get help from parents or friends, but you did not’. She also said that the defendants should "stop being selfish and prioritise children above your own needs".

The court heard that both defendants suffered from mental health issues.

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