Oz woman jailed for 10-yrs for masterminding ‘house of horror’ ordeal

February 11th, 2011 - 7:09 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Feb 11 (ANI): A woman in Australia, who is said to have masterminded a cruel regime of starvation “beyond comprehension” of five children in her care, has been jailed for 10-years.

Tania Staker, 36, has been jailed for her role in the neglect of five children at a house, which has been dubbed as the “house of horror”, in Adelaide’s northern suburbs between February and June 2008.

Three men, the children’s father Luke Armistead, 38, Michael Quinlivan, 27, and Robert Armistead, 41, were each sentenced to nine years in prison.

In sentencing, Justice Kevin Duggan said each of the adults had inflicted a daily routine of punishment “beyond comprehension” on the five siblings.

“It reached a point where the children were made to stand against a wall without moving … they were made to stand in the same position from morning until night,” the Herald Sun quoted him as saying.

Each of the children were beaten, starved, choked and fed only the scraps left over after the other 21 children in the house had eaten a share of hot chips or noodles.

Justice Duggan said the cruelty came out in the open only because a crisis arose.

The squalid house was investigated when a five-year-old boy collapsed and was taken to the Lyell McEwin Hospital suffering severe hypothermia, and each of the children had other injuries, scabies and suffered malnutrition.

Justice Duggan said Staker played a more significant role in the regime because of her jealousy of Luke Armistead’s former relationship with the children’s mother.

He told Staker the children’s mother “was not far behind your culpability”.

“For some reason she was prepared to inflict suffering on her own children,” he stated.

Staker, who pleaded guilty on the first day of the trial to two counts of endangering life and three counts of creating a risk of serious harm prior to trial, will be eligible for parole after serving six years and eight months.

Each of the men, who were found guilty of the same offences, will be eligible for parole after serving six years.

Prior to trial, the children’s mother pleaded guilty to the same charges. She gave evidence against the other adults and was jailed for six years with a non-parole period of three years and three months. (ANI)

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