News National Boy, 5, died in squalid home, court told

Boy, 5, died in squalid home, court told

(file photo).
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A Melbourne father has pleaded guilty to charges linked to his son’s death in the family’s filthy home.

The five-year-old died after cutting his foot on a tin of cat food left lying among masses of rubbish inside the house in 2012.

A post-mortem could not identify the cause of death, but it found the boy had sustained a 3cm cut to his foot from the tin.

The father, who cannot be identified, has pleaded guilty to two charges of reckless conduct endangering injury.

The mother has previously pleaded guilty to the same charges.

The house was described in court documents as being in a state of extreme squalor, littered with rotting and spoilt food, mould, faeces, broken furniture and household items as well as soiled bedding and clothing.

A foul odour hung over the premises which was obviously infested with rodents and insects, the documents said.

The father, who appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday, had told police the boy’s wound was washed with antiseptic and covered with bandaids but he was not taken to a doctor.

Court documents said the boy had never been examined by a medical practitioner, save for maternal and child health check-ups and a period in hospital after his birth.

He was not recorded with Medicare or the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register, nor was he enrolled in kindergarten or school.

The night before the boy died, he had complained his toe was hurting and he “didn’t feel right”, the court documents said.

His brother said the boy kept “falling over like a zombie”, “sounded like he gunna die” and spoke “in a sad kind of talk”.

The post-mortem noted the foot injury was dressed in dirty bandages and tape and that the toe was “sodden”.

The boy’s mother found him “lifeless” in his bedroom and took him to a local ambulance branch where paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

Police who attended the branch said his body was dirty and he had a large number of bruises.

Detective Sergeant Mark Guthrie said that in 26 years in the police force he had never seen a house in such squalor.

“The smell was immense and sickening,” he said in a summary submitted to the court.

The father will appear in the Victorian County Court on June 2.