Callous parents who “stole the childhood” of their sons by locking them inside their bedroom for 23 hours a day are jailedBrothers, now 17 and 19, weighed just 5st 6lb and 6st each when they were rescuedSocial services launched an investigation several years ago – but abandoned it as their “basic needs” were being met
They were fed two slices of buttered toast and plain pasta mixed with Marmite or vegetables each dayThe pair were allowed one shower each WEEK and forced to wash with a hose outside the rest of the timeStepfather Corin Holmes, 39, is jailed for five years while their mother Linsley, 41, gets four yearsBrothers only allowed out to go to college or school
Two brothers had their childhood ‘stolen’ by their mother and stepfather who kept them locked in a bedroom for up to 23 hours a day, a court was told.
The boys were shut away for weeks on end, given little food and forced to take cold showers in the garden with a hosepipe.
They endured the ‘oppressive regime’ for seven years and when they were eventually rescued as teenagers, they were so malnourished that neither had gone through the normal physical changes of puberty.
“Oppressive regime:” Stepfather Corin Holmes, 39, and Linsley, 41, kept their children locked up for up to 23 hours per day and fed them only basic meals
The younger, aged 17, weighed just five stone six pounds and his elder brother, aged 19, was six stone.
Mother Linsley Holmes, 41, was jailed for four years and her ‘domineering’ husband Corin Holmes, 39, given a five-year prison sentence at Grimsby Crown Court. Both admitted child cruelty and false imprisonment.
The case raises serious questions about social workers and teachers who failed to raise the alarm about the family.
Social services had investigated them years earlier, but the case was closed after it was decided that the boys’ ‘basic needs’ were being met by the pair.
Both teenagers were allowed by the parents to attend school and college, yet their emaciated physical condition was not picked up.
Eventually an investigation was launched when one of the brothers spoke to a college tutor. The court was given details of the cruel and depressing daily routine imposed on the boys from 2004 until 2011 behind the doors of the family home in Grimsby.
Food amounted to two inadequate meals a day. At lunchtime they were given two slices of toast and an example of dinner was plain pasta with vegetables or Marmite. ‘Sometimes if they were in trouble they wouldn’t get any dinner at all,’ said prosecutor Megan Rhys.
The boys would eat their meals apart from the adults, sitting on the living room or landing floor.
When they were not at school or college they were shut in their bedroom, which had a TV with no aerial, an Xbox with no controller or games and a broken DVD player. /05/17/article-2145576-13258DAA000005DC-221_634x600.jpg” width=”634″ height=”600″ alt=”The brothers were only allowed out of the house (above) to go to school or college and run errands for their keepers” class=”blkBorder” />
Years of abuse: The brothers were only allowed out of the house (above) to go to school or college and run errands for their keepers, and weren”t trusted to be alone in the kitchen or the bathroom in case they “stole” food and hot water
Miss Rhys said the boys estimated they often spent 23 hours a day in their bedroom. A rope was used to secure the door.
‘They entertained themselves by creating fantasy games and carried them out in whispers,’ she said. They were banned from the kitchen or bathroom without supervision in case they took food or used hot water. Only one hot shower was allowed a week.
Any swearing was punished by washing the boys’ mouths out with soap and water.
In 2011 they escaped to buy biscuits one morning and were punished when the wrappers were spotted.
“In many respects, the prison environment that you will be going to will seem comfortable by comparison” – Judge David Tremberg
One boy had to stay in bed for four or five days and the other for a month. ‘In the bedroom they were expected to lie silently in bed like statues,’ said Miss Rhys.
On a different occasion one boy spent an entire summer holiday confined to his bed.
Linsley Holmes, who was on benefits, married factory worker Corin Holmes in 2002.
The court heard he was the only father figure the boys had and they referred to him as ‘dad’.
Catarina Sjolin, defending Corin Holmes, said: ‘It is not a case of sadistic brutality.
‘It is a case of strict parenting gone badly, dreadfully and seriously off-track.’
Judge David Tremberg said the boys’ physical health and emotional well-being had been seriously damaged, but he hoped they would recover from their ‘stolen childhood’.
The court heard they had both put on weight and ‘improved immensely’ since being rescued.