Child found sitting in poo-smeared, rubbish-filled cot
"FILTHY, deplorable, unsafe, and disgusting."
These are the words Gladstone police used to describe the squalid living conditions in which they found two children.
Gladstone Magistrates Court was yesterday told the little boy and girl's parents had endangered their children's lives by failing to uphold care duties and provide basic necessities.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens said that on May 17, 2017, police arrived at a Gladstone address for unrelated matters.
As soon as officers entered the home, they said they were hit by a strong smell of wet, soiled nappies, rotten food and rubbish.
Sgt Stevens said police saw one of the two children, age six, sitting on the floor watching TV among large piles of rubbish.
A four-year-old was found by officers in a cot filled with rubbish, bits of plastic and smeared with faeces.
The child was covered in grime and dirt and wearing a full nappy.
What was there was filthy," Sgt Stevens said.
The officers inside the foul home quickly contacted the Gladstone Child Protection and Investigation Unit.
The children were removed from the house and are now in the care of their grandmother.
Sgt Stevens told Magistrate Melanie Ho that when an attempt was made to clean the youngest child, dried faeces were found on the four-year-old's feet, arms, legs and under fingernails.
When found, neither child possessed more clothing than what they were wearing.
The court heard that the eldest child's bed was covered in rubbish and surrounded by a number of plastic bottles filled with urine.
Other than a few items in the freezer, police said no food was found in the home.
Sgt Stevens said officers described the environment as "deplorable, unsanitary and unsafe".
He said there were also no toiletries found in the house.
At the mother's sentencing yesterday, Magistrate Melanie Ho was told that the children's parents were in an on-off relationship.
The court was told that due to conflict between the young parents, the mum would sometimes leave the Gladstone home and go to Brisbane for long periods.
After the children were rescued, police conducted an investigation and attended a Brisbane address where the family of four had previously lived.
Sgt Stevens said this house was similarly full of rubbish.
He said the six-year-old's bedroom floor could not be seen for a 'blanket' of rubbish.
Plastic bottles of urine were found in the lounge and the four-year-old's cot was smeared with poo.
The court was told a white pillow in the cot was a "putrid-brown" colour and was surrounded by plastic rubbish.
Looking at the cot, it's just incredulous to me that it can get that bad," Sgt Stevens said to Ms Ho.
The mother's sentencing was adjourned part-heard until April 17. The father is set to appear in court this month.