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Parents of dead toddler jailed for neglect

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Image copyright Mike Gibbons
Image caption Margaret Wade and Marie Sweeney kept the child in their filthy flat

The parents of a two-year-old girl who died of malnutrition have each been jailed for six years and four months.

Lauren Wade was emaciated, dirty and riddled with head lice when she died in March 2015.

Margaret Wade, 38, and Marie Sweeney, 37, had admitted the wilful ill-treatment and neglect of Lauren between June 2014 and March 2015.

They also pled guilty last month to a similar charge in connection with two older children between 2007 and 2015.

The judge, Lady Stacey, said the women had failed in their duties to the children.

She added: “When your daughter died, your house was in a shocking state.

“I don’t think you need me to point out, but you had been offered advice, it was not taken.”

Image caption The court heard Lauren Wade was “emaciated” for days before she died

The chairman of Glasgow’s Child Protection Committee, Colin Anderson, called the case “an appalling tragedy”.

He said the cruelty and deceit of the women had helped them avoid what they perceived as interference from outside agencies.

The High Court in Glasgow had heard that the couple, of Townhead, Glasgow, did not keep the children clean, provide proper food, clothes or medical care.

Lauren was said to be “plainly unwell” and “emaciated” for days before she died.

Wade insisted her “pale and tired” daughter had a cold.

‘Disgusting flat’

On 20 March 2015, a 999 call was made after Lauren was found to be “unresponsive” at the family’s flat in Sighthill, Glasgow.

The child was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead about 30 minutes later.

Lauren was described as “skinny, dirty and unkempt” at the time. She also had a sodden nappy, bald patches and “thousands” of head lice.

Wade and Sweeney – a couple for 15 years – both regarded themselves as parents to Lauren.

They moved to a flat in the city’s Fountainwell Drive in 2011. A detective later branded the home “one of the most disgusting” he had seen in his career.

Mental health

Wade’s QC Brian McConnachie said her mental health issues were “partially responsible” for the crimes.

Lady Stacey went on to point out that advice in helping care for the children had been offered in 2007 then again in 2014, but was not taken.

Mr McConnachie replied: “She fully accepts that. Such was her internal difficulties, she did not find it easy to accept outside help.

“She deeply regrets that.”

Sweeney’s QC Ian Duguid said she had not been “trying to hide” what was a “very sick or malnourished child”.

He added: “She accepts that she has let down the children badly – one with very catastrophic consequences.”

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk

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