January 2019

Parents of toddler who was starved to death have been jailed for total of 13 years

Margaret Wade, 38, and Marie Sweeney, 37, looked after Lauren Wade in a filthy flat in Glasgow described by one detective as one of the worst he had ever seen.

The pair, of Townhead, were each jailed for six years and four months for deliberately neglecting Lauren between June 2014 and March 2015.

The two-year-old went without proper food or care for months. She was rushed to hospital in March 2015, but died around 30 minutes later.

Lauren was dirty, severely underweight and riddled with “thousands” of head lice at the time. Two older children who lived in the flat also suffered but survived.

Wade and Sweeney were charged by police after Wade said she had “no guilt” over the death.

They also admitted to the same crime in connection with the other two children between 2007 and 2015.

A large number of professionals had been in contact with the family but they had not pushed hard enough to see real evidence of improvement.

Lady Stacey told them the youngsters had been subjected to a “chaotic” lifestyle.

The judge added: “They were entitled to a better home-life than they had. When your youngest daughter died, your house was a in a shocking state.

“I don’t think you need me to point out, but you had been offered advice, it was not taken. You knew the children were dependent on you. You failed in your duties to these children.”

The court heard the pair had been a couple for more than 15 years and both regarded themselves as Lauren’s “parents”, although Wade was described as “the mother”.

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

On March 20, 2015, a 999 call was made after Lauren was found to be “unresponsive”. The child was rushed to hospital but soon pronounced dead.

Prosecutor Bill McVicar said: “The most significant effect of the failure to provide a proper diet is the malnutrition of Lauren which caused complications leading to her death.”

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 told nurses Lauren had been suffering from a virus for a couple of days.

Police probed the horrific living conditions Lauren and the other children had been subjected to.

Mr McVicar added: “Paramedics later noticed that the cover she had been lying on was covered in lice and fleas. They had to clean and decontaminate the ambulance.”

‘Paramedics later noticed that the cover she had been lying on was covered in lice and fleas.’

One detective who later viewed the Foutainwell Drive flat branded it “one of the most disgusting houses” he had visited in his police career.

The court heard it was littered with rubbish, leftover food, dirty plates and clothes. There were also “hundreds” of insects and flies.

Lauren Wade was just two years and five months old when she was found emaciated, malnourished and unresponsive on the couch of her home in a north Glasgow flat.

The toddler showed no obvious signs of injury or natural disease but she was filthy, with a severe head lice infestation that had spread to her face and chest.

She was extremely thin, with her shoulders, ribs and backbone being “very visible” through her skin.

The palms of her hands showed black dirt in the creases and the soles of her feet were also blackened.

A toxicology report after her death in March 2015 showed the presence of alcohol and diazepam in her body.

Lauren’s baby teeth were already showing signs of decay and there was evidence of severe nutritional deficiencies.

There was rubbish strewn all over the flat and it was impossible to gain entry to the kitchen because the bin bags were piled up to waist height.

The bags contained food and rubbish dating back two years.

The couch where Lauren slept was so badly infested with head lice it had a large hole in it and had partially disintegrated.

Two other children in the house were also infested with head lice, were filthy and had strong body odour.

December 2018

AN evil mum and her partner who starved a tragic toddler to death at a filthy Glasgow flat are facing jail after being convicted of neglect.

Vile Margaret Wade, 36, and partner Marie Sweeney, 37, let two-year-old Lauren Wade go without proper food or water for eight months, in a filthy flat described by one detective as the worst he had seen.

A judge heard how Lauren was dirty, severely underweight and riddled with “thousands” of head lice at the time.

Two older children who lived with the pair also suffered, but fortunately survived.

The jobless duo were later charged by police – after Wade said she had “no guilt” over the death.

The pair were today convicted of wilful ill-treatment and neglect of Lauren.

Prosecutor Bill McVicar said the case involved “the same basic ill treatment and neglect” of Lauren and the other two children

This included not keeping the youngsters clean as well as not providing proper food, clothes and medical care.

Mr McVicar: “The most significant effect of the failure to provide a proper diet is the malnutrition of Lauren which caused complications leading to her death.”

The court heard Lauren was “plainly unwell” and “emaciated” for days before she died.

A week before the death, Wade claimed to a neighbour Lauren had been “screaming all night” due to “teething”.

Paramedics later noticed that the cover she had been lying on was covered in lice and fleas.

“They had to clean and decontaminate the ambulance.”

But, Mr McVicar said: “In fact, Lauren had a full set of teeth by that stage.”

Days later, Wade then insisted a “pale and tired” Lauren had a cold.

On March 20 2015, a 999 call was made after Lauren was found to be “unresponsive”.

The child was rushed to hospital – but around 30 minutes later she was pronounced dead.

Tiny Lauren was described as “skinny, dirty and unkempt” at the time.

She also had a sodden nappy, bald patches and “thousands” of head lice.

Mr McVicar: “Paramedics later noticed that the cover she had been lying on was covered in lice and fleas.

“They had to clean and decontaminate the ambulance.”

Wade told nurses Lauren had been suffering from a virus for a couple of days.

Mr McVicar: “She kept her hood up to disguise her own infestation of head lice.

“She appeared dirty and smelled of body odour.”

A post mortem revealed Lauren had been the victim of “severe neglect”.

There was also evidence that lice had been there for “over 17 months”.

Police probed the horrific living conditions Lauren and the other children had been subjected to.

One detective who later viewed the Foutainwell Drive flat branded it “one of the most disgusting houses” he had visited in his police career.

The court heard it was littered with rubbish, leftover food, dirty plates and clothes.

There were also “hundreds” of insects and flies due to the stinking mess.

Some of the rubbish found in 2015 dated back to two years earlier.

In one bedroom, the clutter was so bad that the carpet was “almost invisible”.

It emerged that earlier – in June 2014 – a school nurse made an unprompted visit amid concerns

Information was then passed onto social workers. A health visitor went on to discover the flat “messy” including cigarette butts on the floor.

A further visit was then planned – it was during this that the home was found to be clean and “unrecognisable”.

The court heard Lauren died due to “complications with malnutrition”.

Sweeney’s QC Ian Duguid said: “Thankfully a death of this type is a rarity in this country in the 21st century.”

But, Lady Stacey locked them up as sentencing was deferred for reports.

The judge said: “You have pled guilty to very serious charges. I am not prepared to allow bail to be continued.”