Page last updated at 18:30 GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009

Couple kept children, three and five, in squalor

A couple who kept their son and daughter of three and five in a house strewn with dead animals and excrement have admitted child neglect charges.

Matthew and Joanne Bryer, who are 37 and 41, kept dogs, cats and chickens at the home in Rhyl, Denbighshire.

Mold Crown Court heard that police who recorded the scene felt physically ill.

Judge Merfyn Hughes QC bailed the couple until sentencing next week and called for medical reports on the children, now with foster carers.

The court heard that the smell and noise of the animals had been making neighbours' lives unbearable.

Police called at the property in August after a neighbour complained a live chicken had been thrown to the dogs.

Simon Mills, prosecuting, said officers found a scene of squalor that left them unwilling to let the children stay in the house.

Children adapt to the most difficult of circumstances
Simon Mills, prosecuting

Police were struck by an extremely strong smell while outside the property but once inside they found animal excrement in virtually every room, including the children's bedroom.

There was a fish tank with a dead fish in it, a cage containing a dead bird, rabbit hutches in the hall with litter strewn across the uncarpeted floors, and dirt on many of the walls, the court was told.

The kitchen was full of rubbish and unwashed dishes and was described as extremely dirty.

The prosecution also said that there was a well-stocked food cupboard but it was difficult to see where in the kitchen any food could be prepared.

The bedrooms had limited bedding and what there was dirty and there was excrement smeared on a wall and a door upstairs.

Police officers reported that the smell was so overpowering that it left a stinging sensation in their noses and throat. One reported having to leave the building, while another said he thought he was going to be physically ill.

Supervised contact

There were no circumstances in which police would have left the children in the house, the judge was told.

The little girl's hair was said to have been matted and full of lice and nits which were running down her T-shirt.

The child was also found to have a number of flea bites on her body and the court was told that the foster carer had to get rid of a mattress and chair she had used after the children had stayed with her.

Mr Mills said that when found, the girl "appeared on the face of it to be happy enough but of course children adapt to the most difficult of circumstances".

The couple, who now live in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, have supervised contact with the children.

Judge Hughes adjourned the case for medical reports and to hear social services' plans for the children's care.

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