March 2012

Trevethin boy, 3 was kept in a cell and rescued hours from death

A THREE-YEAR-OLD boy was hours from death after what a judge described as “abusive and sadistic behaviour”, by his mother and her partner.

Cardiff Crown Court heard the boy was kept in a “bare cell-like room”, had injuries all over his body, ripped out and ate his own hair because he was so hungry and was close to death because of hypothermia and dehydration.

They locked the helpless youngster in the bare room for hours with no lights or heating. The sick pair even took camera phone footage of the boy in the room of their council-owned semi. A court heard the child was just hours from dying when cops rescued him as it snowed outside in Pontypool, South Wales.

The youngster has since been adopted and Judge John Curran lifted reporting restrictions so his mother, Lisa Brooks, 25, of Beeches Road, Trevethin, and her partner, Tomas Rhys Lewis, 22, of Commercial Street, Griffithstown, could be named. The couple pleaded guilty to wilful neglect of a child and prosecutor Hywel Hughes described police officers being moved to tears after discovering the boy on December 3, 2010.

Social worker Emma Lawler received a number of anonymous tip-offs and after repeatedly getting no reply at the couple’s Beeches Road, Trevethin, address, called police.

Mr Hughes read a statement from PC James Periam, who found the boy locked in “a bare cell-like room”, with no lighting, the radiator turned off at a time when it was snowing outside and containing only a potty, bowl and fork.

The child and walls were covered in faeces and when an officer held the boy, he was described as “flopping on her shoulder, his eyes rolled to the back of his head, with his breathing shallow”.

He had two black eyes, a one-inch gash on his forehead, ligature marks on his arms frombeing tied to a bed and was “ice cold” with PC Periam describing him as “lifeless”.

He was taken to Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny, and ward manager Ann Beard said: “If he was not brought in when he was, he would have died in hours. The weather was so cold outside.”

Doctor Paul Davies described him as “eating food like he’d never eaten before” and as well as extensive cuts and bruising all over his body, he noted patchy hair loss, adding: “He had eaten his own hair, he was extremely hungry and dehydrated”.

The defendants told police the boy was put in the room because he harmed himself and they were fearful he would harm their baby.

The court was shown mobile phone footage they had taken to illustrate this.

It showed the boy naked in the room crying and hitting himself, with the defendants ordering him to stand facing the wall and saying he would not have any breakfast if he didn’t do so.

For Lewis, Hugh Wallace said “he recognises what he did was despicable” while for Brooks,Matthew Roberts said: “they were unable to cope”. Judge Curran heard the boy has been adopted and shows no sign of psychological damage.

He said: “All children are entitled to a secure and happy childhood. Depriving them of this is very serious.

It was abusive and sadistic behaviour.” He sentenced Lewis to three-and-a-half years and Brooks to three years in prison because of an earlier guilty plea. They must serve half in custody before being considered for parole.