The natural father of a boy trapped in an old coal bunker by his mother and step-father, has told ITV News Granada that he feels guilty because he was not there to stop it:
It was horrible to think that someone had done that to my son. It was horrible. I would never do it to an animal, let alone a child.
I feel guilty because I wasn't there to prevent it.
Conditions in prison cells are far better than the way my son had been kept and for his age, to be treated like this, it's just despicable.
The judge said that the experience of being locked in a windowless room in "appalling conditions" had taken a physical and psychological toll on the child victim.
Doctors who examined the boy said he was underweight and below average height for his age, and treated him for anaemia.
But Judge Norman Wright said that while the physical effects have been remedied, the psychological harm "will be unknown".
"It is bound, in my judgment, to be profound," he said.
The couple jailed today for cruelty and willful neglect told police they locked up an 11-year-old boy in a windowless room as punishment for stealing food from the family fridge.
The boy lived there between the ages of 11 and 12 before his school became concerned as the boy was always hungry in class. He has since been placed in foster care.
He was forced to spend nights in a windowless outhousewith one exit bricked up and a new one added leading to the lounge of the family home in Blackpool, Lancashire.
The judge who jailed a couple to two years for forcing a child to sleep in a converted coal bunker has described their crime as "a flagrant abuse of power and a gross breach of trust". Judge Norman Wright told the pair, who cannot be named for legal reasons:
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.
This is the converted coal bunker where an 11-year-old child was forced to sleep by his mother and stepfather. The rubbish-strewn room had no heating, a bare lightbulb and concrete walls and floor.
The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was left to sleep on a dirty mattress with a sleeping bag for a blanket.
The couple in their 40s, who also cannot be named, both admitted a single charge of cruelty by wilful neglect at an earlier hearing at Preston Crown Court.
A mother and stepfather who forced their 11-year-old son to live in a filthy converted coal bunker have each been jailed for two years.
The traumatised boy was made to live and sleep in the room, described as a "cell" by social workers, and reduced to using a potty as he was locked up each night until morning.