Child abuser dies in Durham Prison awaiting sentence

A child abuser who was in January, has died at HMP Durham. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A man who was awaiting sentencing after being convicted of child cruelty offences has died in custody.

The 39-year-old defendant, along with a 35-year-old woman had subjected children to prolonged physical and emotional abuse for several years.

He has now died at Durham Prison, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed.

The prisoner, who was due to be sentenced on April 28, died on Thursday 2 February.

He was convicted in January of three counts of rape, seven counts of neglect, and one count of perverting the course of justice. He was found not guilty of sexual activity with a child.

His partner was found guilty of five counts of child cruelty and one of perverting the course of justice, but was found not guilty of sexual activity with a child.

The court heard the couple had forced children to eat soap, locked them in cupboards, and forced them into boiling hot showers and baths.

It was also heard the couple would withdraw their access to food, leaving the children to scavenge for scraps to eat. On one occasion they were found at 4am walking along to a supermarket four miles away to find something to eat.

Their conviction followed a four-year investigation, involving more than 150 witnesses.

It was launched after one of the children disclosed what happened to her to a trusted adult.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson confirmed the death on 2 February. They added: "As with all deaths in custody, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will investigate.”

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