Mother and partner jailed for neglect after daughter, two, starved to death in flea-infested flat

An inquest heard today that a lady who claimed she felt “no shame” for the appalling abuse of her baby that resulted in her death kept her in a “dirty” living room.

Margaret Wade, 41, and Marie Sweeney, 40, abandoned two-year-old Lauren Wade in their insect-infested flat in Glasgow’s Sighthill.

A judge heard how the youngster had become very underweight after going months without sufficient food or care and was infested with hundreds of head lice.

On March 20, 2015, a 999 call was placed when the infant was discovered to be ‘unresponsive,’ and she died only 30 minutes after being transferred to the hospital.

Lauren was ‘skinny and unclean,’ with a damp nappy and hairless spots, and paramedics discovered lice and fleas on the blanket she was laying on.

Wade informed nurses Lauren had been sick with an illness for a few days, but a post-mortem indicated the youngster had been the victim of ‘severe mistreatment.’

Lauren died as a result of ‘malnutrition consequences,’ according to the High Court in Glasgow.

Miss Wade was freed in March of this year after serving six years and four months in prison, while Miss Sweeney is due for release in October.

A five-week fatal accident investigation (FAI) began today at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

The pair, who had been charged with Lauren’s murder, pled guilty to a lesser charge of ignoring the baby between June 2014 and March 2015.

The tribunal heard that there were concerns expressed at Wade’s two elder children’ primary school about her handling of their head lice treatment.

Sharon McIntyre, 52, a school nurse, alleged that she paid an unexpected visit to Wade’s flat in June 2014 after the mother cancelled a pre-arranged appointment.

Prosecutor Selina Brown questioned the witness about why she was there.

She told her it was to discuss the kids and head lice in the household, she said. Mum didn’t want her to come into the flat, she explained.

The witness stated she was informed the flat was a “chaos,” but she persuaded her to allow her in nonetheless.

Mrs McIntyre reported that there were toys and shoes strewn over the corridor, calling it ‘unkempt.’

When she got into the living room, there was a mattress on the floor in front of the TV and a big mound of garments on and behind the sofa, she continued. There was also Lauren’s crib in the main room.

The area was disgusting, if not dirty.

The nurse went on to say that she recalls Lauren attempting to crawl up on her lap, however she resisted as she was ‘dirty’ and didn’t want her crawling on her.

She added that she was unable to determine whether Lauren had head lice at the time.

Another woman entered the living room, according to the witness, to chat with Wade about smokes.

Wade, she alleged, informed her it was her cousin.

Miss Brown asked if Miss Mclnyre knew she had a partner? Miss McIntyre replied no

Miss Brown asked whether she would have included her in the conversation if she had known this was her partner? Miss McIntyre replied yes.

Wade, according to the witness, declined aid for dealing with head lice and was informed she was ‘dealing on her own.’

Miss Brown asked Miss McIntyre if she thought Wade was managing, and she said, ‘Certainly not at that stage.’

The court was informed that after the appointment, Miss McIntyre recommended Wade to social services and the Positive Parenting Programme (PPP).

Deputy head teacher Yvonne Adams, 55, remembered a meeting she had with Wade at school.

A head lice was crawling over mother’s forehead and her table, and she believed the mother was in a vulnerable situation as well, she explained.

The hearing is continuing in front of Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull.

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