A cruel mum's terrible neglect of five children led to two of them being sexually abused, a judge said.

The mum - who cannot be named because that would identify her children - failed her children in almost every conceivable way.

A court heard they grew up in chaos and filth without adequate food and clothing, basic hygiene, medical care, any toys or love.

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When the drug dealing mum was out, two of her children were sexually abused by Brandon Mullin, who the ECHO can name.

Liverpool Crown Court heard 19-year-old Mullin - who at the time was a child himself - raped one boy and molested one girl.

Judge Garrett Byrne said: "This is a shocking and terrible case. In fact, I cannot recall ever seeing a more serious case of child neglect."

The mum admitted five counts of neglect relating to each child "from birth until the date of their removal by social services".

She previously denied any wrongdoing, meaning three of her children had to give evidence on video ahead of a possible trial.

Three of the children alleged they were sexually abused by Mullin, of Kensington Road in Kensington, who denied the charges.

He was found guilty of the charges relating to two of the children after a trial.

The mum admitted neglect on the basis she did not know about the sexual abuse and was not involved in it, which the Crown accepted.

However, Judge Byrne said while the mum didn't "participate" in the abuse, her neglect "led" to it.

She sobbed as he told her: "You were rarely there, choosing instead to prioritise your own needs over those of the children."

He added that Mullin by reason of her neglect "was afforded the opportunity of sexually abusing them".

The judge said: "If your basis of plea is you had no responsibility for that, then I reject it.

"I accept you didn't know about the abuse. But if you exercised greater control... that abuse may not have occurred."

He added: "When your children drew to your attention the fact they were being abused, you refused to take their complaints seriously. You did not believe them."

David Polglase, prosecuting, said agencies and professionals had tried to support the mum, with social services involved with her family for a decade and the NSPCC first made aware of concerns 10 years ago.

However, he said a children's centre family support worker noted the mum was "clever" in "giving out the right signals but then not complying", while the judge observed she would "pay lip service but fail to follow through with action".

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The court heard a turning point came when one of her children, a little boy, was found "wandering the street, barefoot, with no coat, in cold weather, in wet clothes and with a wet nappy".

Judge Byrne told the mum: "You were asleep and totally unaware that your child had left the house."

He said it was then discovered the children's dad had convictions for child sex offences, "although I accept you didn't know that at the time you were living with him".

Mr Polglase said the family were then moved to a new address, but the neglect worsened after the mum split from the dad, who despite being a sex offender, had provided more stability than she could.

He said it only ended when all five victims were taken into foster care.

Pictured is Liverpool Crown Court

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Judge Byrne noted: "The cruelty was perpetrated over a prolonged period of time and in fact endured for the entirety of the life of each child until they were removed and placed into the care of foster parents."

He said her home hadn't been safe, with many people coming and going most of whom would have been "strangers" to the children.

Judge Byrne said the house was "chaotic, dirty and untidy", with one baby left in a dirty cot all day, the children were often hungry, and she failed to give them food.

He said: "I heard evidence that the children were reduced to sneaking down to the kitchen late at night to get themselves milk and bread."

The judge said teachers were "shocked" at their appearance, one boy was clearly "malnourished", and all but one child was underweight.

He said the mum failed to ensure that one child with a serious heart problem received medical attention, or that one child with a bone disorder had regular examinations, and the condition of their teeth was "woeful".

Judge Byrne said she repeatedly slapped them and the evidence was there weren't any toys at the second home they lived in.

He said she failed to clothe them properly, "to teach them even basic hygiene", one child was sent to school with a full nappy, and they were rarely if ever bathed properly.

The judge said the children were often late for school, she didn't bother attending parent evenings and "you couldn’t be bothered helping them with any homework or reading to them".

He told her: "Several of the children were asked what it was like having you as their mother and they all said the same thing - it was horrible."

Judge Byrne said: "The worst thing of course, was the lack of emotional love and support that these children desperately needed and which they certainly deserved.

"You were never a capable mother and I note that you appeared to be relieved when they were taken out of your care."

Mr Polglase outlined additional shocking details including how one child had to have teeth removed because of decay; a teacher visited the dirty home and found a boy smashing plates; another child told a teaching assistant they slept in a dog bed; and a social worker said the children had to eat cereal separately, as there were only three spoons in the house.

Judge Byrne told the mum the harm she had caused the children was "incalculable" and in some cases would last for the rest of their lives.

He said the only positive was they were now being looked after by experienced, loving and caring foster parents, who he paid tribute to, along with teachers who did their best to help the children.

On a date after her children were taken away, the mum was caught by police when getting into a taxi outside her home.

She was found to be carrying a 17g wrap of crack cocaine, valued at £1,704; a 4g wrap of heroin, valued at £160; 15 bags of cannabis, weighing 21g in total and valued at £213; and more than £400 in cash.

The mum also had an iPhone, which despite her claims it wouldn't, contained messages revealing she was dealing drugs.

Inside her home officers found scales, grinders, snap bags, a small amount of cannabis and more than £500 in a locked safe.

If you are struggling during lockdown and need help or support, here are some places you can contact.

  • To report a sexual crime to the police call 101
  • If you are in immediate danger, always call 999
  • If you prefer not to go direct to the police and you are not in immediate danger, you can contact a sexual assault referral centre (SARC) in your area
  • Childline 24-hour helpline 0800 1111
  • NSPCC’s online safety helpline on 0800 800 5002
  • If you are worried about a child, call the NSPCC’s helpline: 0800 800 5000
  • Mr Polglase said when interviewed "she said the cash was child tax credits, notwithstanding the children were no longer in her care".

    She initially denied possessing the drugs with intent to supply, but admitted the offences ahead of a trial.

    Paul Becker, defending, said it was "a very sad case", his client "failed" her children and was sorry for the "pain and suffering" she caused.

    He said she witnessed alcoholism and domestic violence as a child, was put in foster homes herself after her dad died and "went off the rails".

    The lawyer said she left school without qualifications, abused drink and drugs, had three children as a teenager and, while it was "no excuse", she "wasn't ready for motherhood".

    Mr Becker said after the dad left it was "an accident waiting to happen" and the mum "went to pieces".

    He quoted her as saying: "I should have been a good mum but I wasn't."

    Mr Becker said: "The defendant does have genuine love for her children but couldn't provide the adequate care."

    He added she had been hospitalised for major health issues and had mental health problems including depression.

    Judge Byrne accepted she had a "difficult upbringing" and medical and psychological conditions.

    But jailing her for 12 years, he said: "In my view none of that really mitigates what you did."

    Mullin will be sentenced on October 29.

    Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline, seven days a week, on 0808 800 5000, or email [email protected]

    Anyone with information about or who wants to report a sexual offence allegation can call police on 101, where you will be spoken to by specially trained officers, or you can pass information to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

    Support for victims is also available from the registered charity the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre Cheshire and Merseyside, who can be contacted on 01925 221 546 or 0330 363 0063, or Rape and Sexual Assault Merseyside (RASA) on 0151 558 1801.

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