5:03pm UK, Friday April 08, 2011
Frazer Maude, Sky News reporter
The parents of five children, all under the age of seven, have been given suspended sentences for leaving them unsupervised in "squalid conditions".
Neighbours of Angela Freer, 31, and Christopher Steele, 55, told police they saw one of the younger children drinking lager through the window of their Blackpool home with no adults present.
When police gained entry to the house they found the children had no clean bedding or clothes, and that the house smelt of urine and faeces.
They said one of the younger children was asleep on a sofa, and appeared to be intoxicated.
Both parents initially blamed each other for the children being left unsupervised,although Steele later admitted he was the last to leave the house.
Freer, pregnant with her sixth child at the time of the offence in September 2009, returned to the house drunk after visiting a local pub.
The pair were both given 20-week suspended sentences by the Recorder of Preston, Judge Russell QC.
He told them their children had been left "in a squalid house, in a filthy state".
Child reportedly found by police 'intoxicated' on the sofa
He said although he saw this as a serious case of neglect, not to suspend the sentences would help the pair "look to the future".
The pair refused to comment as they left court.
Their children, who cannot be named, are now in the care of either foster or adoptive parents.
Absolutely appalling - a 20 week suspened sentence!!! If the judges came down more harshly on these sort of incidents, perhaps other parents might think twice before doing it.
After all, these kids are old enough to take care of themselves. Madeleine wasn't even 4 years old when she was given babysitting duties, whilst possibly sedated. Kids should be taught from a much younger age (as soon as they can crawl) to take care of themselves so their parents can enjoy 'me time'.
What's the point of having kids if your tied to them for years?
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