Matt O'Donoghue reports on the case and speaks to developmental psychologist Melissa Allen.
Judge Wright said the physical effects to the boy from living in "truly appalling" conditions may have been remedied but the psychological harm "will be unknown"."It is bound, in my judgment, to be profound," he said.
He said it had been submitted that the child's mother was "subordinate" to her "dominant" partner but he ruled their culpability was equal."You were his mother and it seems to me that you were not someone cowered by your co-accused," he said.
– Jude Norman Wright, Preston Crown Court
You were in a position to stand up (to him) and you did not.
"Your counsel say that you were someone who loved your son very much. If that was so, how can you behave like this?
Sentencing, Judge Norman Wright told the pair: "This was a flagrant abuse of power and a gross breach of trust."
He added: "The room has been described as a cell but it seems to me it was akin to a prison cell from a third world country, not the home of an 11- or 12-year-old living in this century in this country."
A mother and stepfather who forced their 11-year-old son to live in a filthy converted coal bunker in their Blackpool home have been sentenced to two years in jail.
The parents, in their 40s, cannot be named for legal reasons. Both admitted a single charge of cruelty by wilful neglect at an earlier hearing.