A BURTON couple who were well on the way to starving their baby daughter to death have each been jailed for 40 months.
The two-year-old was just months from death when social worker Joanna Davies called at the couple's home in the town, Stafford Crown Court heard.
She was twice refused entry and called the police to get access after she became concerned.
Inside, the flat was in a 'filthy' state, it smelled of urine and there was a lizard, parrots, terrapins and a dog which appeared to have the run of the property. The kitchen had no cooker or fridge.
The girl was found to be pale, malnourished and the only word she could say was 'dada'.
She was taken to hospital the next day and the doctor who examined her "was of the opinion that if she hadn't received medical attention, malnutrition could have ended her life," said Richard Franck, prosecuting.
The mother, 50, and the 44-year-old father, who cannot be named under a court order prohibiting identification of the child, pleaded guilty to a charge of child cruelty over 18 months by failing to feed and seek medical attention for their daughter.
Judge Mark Eades told them: "Anyone who has seen the photographs of [your daughter] when she was seen by Dr Mansoor would be horrified.
"I have heard evidence about the state of the home. What was going on was quite deliberate and you knew what you were doing. She had suffered severe neglect.
"It would have ended her life and that would have taken place over a matter of months."
Mr Franck said after she was born, the little girl had been taken in to hospital because she was underweight.
After being discharged, the mother repeatedly cancelled appointments for the health visitor to see her.
The case did not come to light until November 2011. There was a call to social services about the father's treatment of one of his stepsons in the street and Ms Davies went round to carry out a safety check.
One doctor's report on the little girl said "she looked very undernourished and had wastage on her body."
She was put into foster care and has shown a great deal of improvement.
Rashad Mohammed, defending, said there was no suggestion the couple had shown any violence towards their daughter. He said: "She is making very good progress. One hopes the psychological effect will be kept to a minimum.
"Both defendants are inadequate parents, both failed to grasp the task they faced and when difficulties arose they simply buried their heads in the sand."