A four-year-old Adelaide boy found in squalid conditions last year was kept in his bedroom and fed under the door for almost two weeks, court documents have revealed.
The boy’s father has pleaded guilty to one aggravated count of endangering life while his 23-year-old mother will stand trial after pleading not guilty to endangering life and criminal neglect.
The charges relate to their alleged treatment of the boy who was hospitalised, weighing less than 10kg, after being removed from their home in October last year.
The house was found to be filthy and littered with rubbish and rotting food.
In his interview with police, the 27-year-old father said the young boy had been kept in his bedroom for 12 days.
“We fed him under the door,” the man said.
“We actually fed him pretty much every day, in that room, by sliding the plates under there, so far as we could hear, he was happy.”
In response to police questions as to why the boy was being kept in his room, the man said he had not been naughty and said he and his partner were not “negligent parents”.
“The time just flies past that fast,” he said.
The man said the boy had been fed with sachets of food as well as bars and biscuits.
Asked how the boy was getting any fluids, he said that came only from the food he was supplied, which included yogurt.
“He hasn’t learnt to drink out of a sippy cup yet,” the father said.
“We tried teaching him, he just won’t snap to it.”
In other court documents, police described the smell in the house as overpowering and said it reeked of rotting food and decay.
The room where the boy was found was held closed with a strap which was tied to another door.
He was naked and crouching behind the bedroom door when officers entered.
“He was unable to stand. He appeared to struggle to speak and shook as he did,” one officer said in a statement.
“The spot he was crouched on behind the door was dirty from faeces and it appeared he had not moved from that spot for a long time.”
The boy’s parents will appear in the District Court next month.