Heroin addict locked two hungry boys in “pigsty” house full of bottles of urine
A heroin addict kept two starving young boys in a “pigsty” house littered with drugs and bottles of urine, a court heard.
“Self-centred” Matthew Avenell was supposed to be looking after the victims, but instead let them go hungry, wear filthy clothes and go days without washing.
One of the boys told police he “would often eat only at school” and it “would be a long time between baths as there was no water”.
Avenell, 40, from Hull, has now been locked up for two years after the horrifying neglect was uncovered, reports Hull Live.
When officers entered the property last year – after being given a key by an “associate” of Avenell – the two boys came downstairs and said they had been playing on a computer.
Andrew Semple, prosecuting, told the court that the curtains were closed and the house was “warm on a warm day”.
There were also bottles of urine because the water to flush the toilets was not always turned on.
Avenell had locked the boys in again that morning, telling them he was going to get food. Instead he was trying to rob a woman who was taking money out of a cash machine.
The older boy was interviewed and told police they were regularly locked in and did not have a key or a phone to contact Avenell.
Mr Semple said: “He further described there were usually drugs left around the house, ‘black and brown stuff’ in a bag. He was to tell the officers Avenell took these drugs in front of them.”
The drugs made Avenell “dozy”, the boy said.
The boy also said there was “no food in the house and they would go to bed hungry and would often eat only at school”.
He said he “did not have clean clothes”.
The boy also said there was no toothpaste and he was not registered with a dentist.
The youngster described an occasion when he had been left with bruises on his arms and legs.
Mr Semple said the boy’s account was that “the defendant had smacked him with a shoe as a result of him telling him he wanted to leave the house and go elsewhere”.
“Load of s***”, Avenell was heard muttering in the dock when that was said.
He had also sold a PlayStation belonging to one of the boys to buy drugs, the court heard.
A woman who saw the boys during the period of the abuse said they often asked for food, and she recalled an occasion when one of them had bruises on his arms and legs.
He said he had been “hit with a shoe”. She also said the boys had head lice.
The woman went to the property to take photographs, which showed an empty fridge and freezer and “drug paraphernalia”.
Avenell accepted in police interview he had “not been feeding them properly”, and he was “not caring for them properly”, and “they would have suffered as a result of that”.
“His life was dominated by getting heroin and he was ashamed of his behaviour,” Mr Semple said.
Avenell was serving a 27-month sentence for the attempted robbery when he appeared in the dock on Monday after admitting five offences of child neglect.
These reflected him “failing to provide food, clothing or proper hygiene”, and also the assault on the eldest boy. He has had to undergo counselling, the court heard.
Jailing Avenell for two years, she told him: “Your life was self-centred and revolved entirely around drugs and the taking of heroin.
“They didn’t have anything to eat, the house was unkempt and they weren’t clothed properly. Their hygiene was dreadful, and you kept taking drugs. You went out, leaving them by themselves, locked in a house time and time again.
“They could so easily have taken some of the drugs you had left lying around, and the death of one of them could have been on your hands. You let them down considerably and it’s something for which you should be ashamed.
“This wasn’t a one-off; this was repeated, prolonged serious neglect, neglect that affected their mental wellbeing. You failed utterly to protect them.”