Father and step-mother ‘forced boys, 10 and 12, to sleep in hellhole cellar while step-brothers lived upstairs and went to private school’

  • Police say the boys, named as Damien and Hugo, were locked into squalid cellar without light, electricity or toilet
  • They slept under house in Seine-Saint-Denis, Paris, for three years
  • Father, 39, told police his sons were 'unmanageable and broke things'
  • He and step-mother, 44, charged with causing violence to minors and neglect

By Harriet Arkell

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Police in Paris discovered two boys living in squalid conditions in an unlit cellar while the rest of their family lived in comparative luxury upstairs, it emerged today.

The boys, named as Damien, 12, and Hugo, 10, by authorities, had been forced to sleep on bare mattresses surrounded by their own filth for the past three years while their father, 39, step-mother, 44, and her seven-year-old son lived upstairs.

They were allowed out to attend the local state school in the day, but at night were locked into the cellar which had no natural light, electricity or toilet, and was never cleaned.  They were often beaten with a belt by their father, it is alleged, and forced to go without food.

French television news says this is the house in the quiet suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis where the family lived

French television news says this is the house in the quiet suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis where the family lived

The shocking conditions the children lived in became apparent last Wednesday night when the older boy, Damien, escaped and ran to the local police station in Bondy, Seine-Saint-Denis, to the north-east of Paris.

He told officers about the conditions he and his brother lived in, and officers went to their house in the suburb to see for themselves.

Deve Maboungou, of UNSA police, said: 'When the police arrived they found a mattress and excrement - it was just as the boy had said.'

 

Officers found the boys had 'scratches and burst blood vessels on their arms', according to Nord Eclair.

The source added: 'They slept on mattresses on the floor, without sheets, in the middle of their own mess' in the cellar which was 'in an advanced state of decay'.

A source said the boys' mistreatment began when their drug-addict mother moved out and their father moved in with another woman who had two sons, now aged seven and 17.

The older boy is said to be a 'petit rat' student dancer at the Opera de Paris, which is looking after him, the Daily Telegraph reports.  It says the seven-year-old lived a very different life, attending private school and sleeping upstairs with the two adults.

Deve Maboungou, of the UNSA Police Syndicate, said officers found the boys living in their own excrement

Deve Maboungou, of the UNSA Police Syndicate, said officers found the boys living in their own excrement

Neighbours in the quiet suburban street said they never saw the children playing outside

Neighbours in the quiet suburban street said they never saw the children playing outside

The boys' living conditions were only discovered last week after the elder boy escaped and ran to the police station

The boys' living conditions were only discovered last week after the elder boy escaped and ran to the police station

'There appears to have been a law of silence in the family over the other boys' treatment.  Nobody was supposedly aware of anything amiss,' a source said.

When the father, a plumber, was questioned about the conditions his children lived in, he told authorities they were 'unmanageable and broke everything'.  He also admitted sometimes with-holding food from them.

The father and stepmother are now in custody.

A spokesman for the Tribunal de Grande Instance court in Paris told MailOnline: 'The father has been charged with habitual violence against a minor, with-holding food and care, and violence by an older carer against a minor.

'The step-mother has been charged with with-holding food and care, and violence by an older carer against a minor.'

He said the case dossier was now with an examining magistrate who would lead the enquiry.

The boys were checked by a paediatrician before being placed in a foster home.

Neighbours said they had never suspected a thing: 'It was always very quiet there', one said. 'You never saw them playing in the street.'

Police in Seine-Saint-Denis heard the boys had been sleeping in the cellar for more than three years

Police in Seine-Saint-Denis heard the boys had been sleeping in the cellar for more than three years

ECHOES OF THE CASE THAT SHOCKED AUSTRIA: JOSEF FRITZL

Josef Fritzl is serving life in jail after imprisoning his daughter in his basement and raping her repeatedy for 24 years

Josef Fritzl is serving life in jail after imprisoning his daughter in his basement and raping her repeatedy for 24 years

Josef Fritzl is currently serving a life sentence in Austria after being convicted of imprisoning his daughter, Elisabeth, for 24 years.

Fritzl, now 78, lured his daughter, then 18, into the basement of their family home in Amstetten, Austria, in 1984.  He then forced her to write a letter claiming she had run away, and gave it to police after reporting his daughter missing.

While she was entombed under the house, Elisabeth was raped repeatedly by her father, and gave birth to seven children.  She also suffered one miscarriage.

One of Elisabeth's children died shortly after birth, three were removed to live upstairs with Josef and his wife Rosemarie, and three stayed underground with Elisabeth.

Fritzl threatened his daughter that she and her three children downstairs would be gassed if they tried to escape.  He also said they would be electrocuted if they meddled with the door.

When Elisabeth's incestuously-conceived daughter Kerstil fell seriously ill with kidney failure in April 2008, Elisabeth persuaded her father to take the 19-year-old to hospital.  Fritzl's lies were uncovered, police intervened, and Elisabeth and her children were finally free to leave the basement.

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

What is wrong with people?? Children our own or step are angelic and innocent. The parents of these kids have to be very sick in the head to do this kind of action. I can only PRAY that this world can get better!!

Click to rate     Rating   41

Evil!!!! Poor baby's:( hope they are safe and sound now!!

Click to rate     Rating   41

These evil, cruel parents and step-parents exist in every country, unfortunately. Poor boys, they will find it hard to recover from this, but I hope they find a loving home now.

Click to rate     Rating   30

Those poor kids, this is horrific, I hope they will make a full recovery, but sadly they are going to be scarred for life emotionally after what they have gone through. I just hope these two excuses for human beings get the sentence they deserve as well as the prison welcome they deserve. Evil and cruel beyond belief.

Click to rate     Rating   25

very dickensian but it shouldn,t happen in 2013

Click to rate     Rating   17

and the church says that only a man and a woman have the rights to raise a happy family.

Click to rate     Rating   21

Until there are tougher, more appropriate sentences and people start taking notice of what is going on around them, this sort of thing will not stop.

Click to rate     Rating   17

As a stepmom myself, to 3 wonderful stepkids, I could never imagine treating them that way. It's stepparents like this that give all the good ones a bad name! Poor boys :(

Click to rate     Rating   32

Reminds me of a child called it. Horrendous!

Click to rate     Rating   12

I wonder why the boys did not tell their teachers at school. They would surely have intervened and called social services, then they might have been saved earlier.

Click to rate     Rating   21

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