Kids in Fairy Meadow house living in squalor: magistrate sickened

Details of four children living in a cockroach-infested house with human excrement on the floor has left a Port Kembla magistrate sickened and appalled.

Police who attended the Fairy Meadow house on unrelated matters late one night in July were so concerned by the scene that confronted them they removed the children – who they described as appearing not to have showered in days – from the house immediately.

Police discovered rubbish and dirty clothing covered the entire floor of every room, and a bong and syringes were found inside the house, within easy reach of the children, who ranged in age from 5 to 13 years old.

The kitchen had been infested by cockroaches and flies, dirty dishes lined the bench and the smell of rotting food emanated from the fridge.

Officers said the toilet and shower area appeared ‘‘almost unusable’’.

‘‘There was no toilet paper...police also observed human faeces on the floor in front of the toilet and smeared on cardboard [in the bathroom],’’ police said.

The children’s mother and father, neither of whom was home when police arrived, faced court on Tuesday charged with neglecting children in their care.

The woman pleaded guilty to four counts, however the man’s case has been adjourned for him to seek legal advice.

Magistrate Michael Stoddart said the facts were appalling.

‘‘It’s woeful as a parent you allowed this situation to happen,’’ he said. 

‘‘It’s pretty heart-breaking to read what I’ve just read...quite sickening. The conditions they were living in were absolutely appalling.’’

The siblings have been permanently removed from their parents’ care and placed with an uncle.

Police described the shocking scene that greeted them that night in documents provided to the court, saying the overall health and hygiene of the children was extremely inadequate.

‘‘They all had bad body odour and dirty hair and faces,’’ the statement said.

‘‘Police had difficulty in obtaining adequate clean and warm clothes to dress the children in. Two of the children had to leave the house without shoes because they couldn’t be located.’’

Defence lawyer Suanne Hallman said the children’s mother had had trouble keeping the home clean due to a hip injury.

She said the woman had a significant drug problem, but wanted to clean up her act, and was making arrangements to enter a rehabilitation program.

‘‘In her mind and heart she knew this had to happen and she’s glad it did,’’ Ms Hallman said. Magistrate Stoddart handed the woman a $500 fine on each charge taking into account that she had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and had only welfare payments for income.

The offence only carries a fine as a penalty.

The man will reappear in court later this month.

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