Schoolboy, 9, so badly neglected by cruel couple police couldn't open his bedroom door as it was blocked with rubbish

Schoolboy, 9, so badly neglected by cruel couple police couldn't open his bedroom door as it was blocked with rubbish

October 20, 2021

A SCHOOLBOY was so badly neglected by a cruel couple while in their care that cops couldn't open his bedroom door as it was blocked with rubbish.

Gordon Bircham, 32, and Caitlin O'Brien, 28, left their flat in Ayrshire, Scotland filthy and infested with flies and insects.


The nine-year-old boy's bedroom walls and mattress were covered in animal urine and faeces, the Daily Record reported.

Rotting rubbish, old food and soiled clothes were also found lying on the floor around the home.

Bircham and O'Brien appeared in Kilmarnock Sheriff Court for sentencing yesterday.

They had both previously pleaded guilty to wilfully neglecting the boy.

Prosecutor Angie Bennett said in court: "The child stated to the officers he didn't know if he had any clean clothes.

"There was a cat litter tray which was full and had spilled over and had then flooded into the bathroom.

"There was human and animal faeces on the floor of the toilet and the walls. It seemed to the police there was nowhere for the child to wash or brush his teeth."

The boy was taken away by cops to "a place of safety", the court heard.

Defence lawyer Gillian Swanney said Bircham had "a significant deterioration in his mental health and that of his ex-partner" and "spiralled out of control".

She said Bircham was on anti-depression medication and was seeking help for alcoholism.

Sheriff Colin Bissett spared the couple jail after hearing they were no longer together.

He said: "Your behaviour towards this boy was disgusting and extremely regretful. I am prepared to deal with the matter by way of an alternative to custody.

"It's a punishment that requires you to pay back to the community for your crime."

The couple were place on a Community Payback Order and they will be supervised by social workers for 18 months.

They also have a year to do 80 hours of unpaid work.

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