A man and woman neglected a schoolboy so badly that police couldn't open his bedroom door because it was blocked with rubbish.

Gordon Bircham and Caitlin O'Brien allowed the property to become so filthy it was infested with flies and insects.

Officers searched the flat and found so much rubbish and filth that the nine-year-old's bedroom and the bathroom were obstructed.

An investigation revealed his bedroom walls and mattress were covered in animal urine and excrement.

Child abuser Gordon Bircham.

And rotting rubbish, stale food, dirty clothes and other waste was strewn all throughout the house.

The details emerged yesterday when Bircham, 32, and O'Brien, 28, appeared in the dock at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court for sentencing.

They had both previously pleaded guilty to a charge of wilfully neglecting the child, who is now 11, at a property in the Ayrshire town in July 2020.

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

Caitlin O'Brien was spared jail over her abuse of a young boy.

"He pointed out his bedroom to police. Police were unable to enter the bedroom due to the amount of household rubbish and empty food boxes and other items around the floor, and also on his bed.

"Other rooms in the house were in a not dissimilar condition.

"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.

"There appeared to be no clean clothes and there did not appear to be any food for him."

The court heard the boy was taken away "to a place of safety" and that Bircham and O'Brien could not be cautioned and charged over the neglect because they were so upset.

The charge they pleaded guilty to, under Section 12(1) of the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937, also stated there "was only mouldy and out of date food within the kitchen" and that they "did thus expose said child to the risk of injury, infection and illness".

Defence solicitor Gillian Swanney said Bircham had experienced "a significant deterioration in his mental health and that of his ex-partner" around March last year and "spiralled out of control".

She said he was now receiving anti-depression medication, had got himself a job and was seeking help for his alcoholism.

After hearing they were no longer a couple, Sheriff Colin Bissett spared them both jail.

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."

He placed them both on a Community Payback Order which will see them supervised by social workers for 18 months.

They also have 12 months to do 80 hours of unpaid work, reduced from 120 as they admitted their guilt.

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