Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 16:44 UK

Parents of girl found hanged in bedroom are jailed

Simon and Susan Moody admitted neglecting daughter Charlotte
Simon and Susan Moody were jailed for child neglect

The mother and stepfather of an eight-year-old Nottinghamshire girl found hanged in her bedroom have each been jailed for 12 months.

Simon Moody, 32, and Susan Moody, 24, pleaded guilty to child neglect charges at a hearing on 12 March.

Nottingham Crown Court had heard how no-one had been in Charlotte Avenall's bedroom for four weeks or longer.

Charlotte, who had severe learning difficulties, was found at home in Moor Street, Mansfield, on 12 September.

The court was told that Charlotte's bedroom had faeces smeared all over the walls and on the floor, bedding and soft toys.

The couple both pleaded guilty to wilfully neglecting, abandoning or exposing Charlotte in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to her health, between 14 August and 12 September 2009.

School concerns

Det Supt Adrian Pearson told reporters Charlotte Avenall died in ''deplorable'' conditions

Nottingham Crown Court heard Charlotte was locked in her "revolting and squalid" bedroom for 12 hours each night.

She was so neglected by the pair that police officers said they had never seen a room as filthy as her bedroom.

The youngster was forced to use her chest of drawers as a toilet.

She was found hanged from a cord tied to a window and then round a pink bunny soft toy.

Nottingham Crown Court heard social services knew Charlotte was vulnerable and had visited the family's home in June last year.

But when social workers from Nottinghamshire County Council tried to visit in August there was no one at home.

The court heard no follow-up appointment was made, despite the child's school raising concerns.

Susan Moody pleaded guilty to child neglect but claimed she was unwell at the time and had left responsibility for Charlotte to her husband.

The court was told she had tried to become a surrogate mother for a family in Manchester in exchange for £10,000.

It's beyond the comprehension of any parent, indeed any normal person, how a mother or father could allow a child to spend a single night in that room
William Harbage QC

And despite the squalor of Charlotte's bedroom the tanks of the family's spiders and lizards were regularly cleaned out.

William Harbage QC, prosecuting, said: "A number of very experienced police officers described it as the worst smelling and filthiest room they had ever encountered.

"It's beyond the comprehension of any parent, indeed any normal person, how a mother or father could allow a child to spend a single night in that room."

The court heard that when a post-mortem examination was carried out, it was found Charlotte's finger nails were overgrown, her scalp was riddled with lice and her body was dehydrated.

Her school raised concerns in March 2009 because Charlotte regularly turned up with excrement on her hands and in the wrong clothes for the weather conditions.

When they raised concerns, her parents transferred her to another school.

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