A mother and partner who starved a toddler to death have jailed for more than six years each after admitting to her horrific neglect.

Margaret Wade, 38, and Marie Sweeney, 37, supposedly looked after Lauren Wade in a filthy flat, described by one detective as "one of the most disgusting houses" he'd ever seen.

Wade - the mother of tragic Lauren, and Sweeney, her partner, each faced three charges relating to wilful neglect of the two year old and two older sisters.

Read more: Death of Lauren Wade is worst case of child neglect I’ve seen in 50 years, says social work chief

The tragic two-year-old went without proper food or care for months and was left infested with headlice for more than a year. 

Toddler Lauren was rushed to hospital in March 2015 but died around 30 minutes later.

A judge heard how the two-year-old was dirty, severely underweight and riddled with “thousands” of head lice at the time.

When police eventually visited their home, the infestation had spread outside the home and lice had eaten through the sofa.


The jobless pair were later charged by police - after Wade said she had “no guilt” over the death.

The pair were today sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow after pleading guilty to wilful ill-treatment and neglect.

They also admitted to the same crime in connection with two other children who fortunately survived.

On March 20, 2015, a 999 call was made after Lauren was found to be “unresponsive”.

The child was rushed to hospital – but was pronounced dead shortly after.

Tiny Lauren was described as “skinny, dirty and unkempt” at the time.

She also had a sodden nappy and bald patches.

Wade told nurses Lauren had been suffering from a virus for a couple of days.

A post mortem revealed Lauren had been the victim of “severe neglect”.

There was also evidence that lice had been there for “over 17 months” of her life.

Police probed the horrific living conditions Lauren and the other children had been subjected to.

One detective who later viewed the Fountainwell Drive flat branded it “one of the most disgusting houses” he had visited in his police career.

Wade's QC Brian McConnachie today said her mental health issues were “partially responsible” for the crimes.

Lady Stacey went on to point out that “advice” in helping care for the children had been offered in 2007 then again in 2014, but was “not taken”.

Mr McConnachie replied: “She fully accepts that – such was her internal difficulties she did not find it easy to accept outside help.

“She deeply regrets that.”

Sweeney's QC Ian Duguid said she had not been “trying to hide” what was a “very sick or malnourished child”.

He added: “She accepts that she has let down the children badly – one with very catastrophic consequences.”

Wade and Sweeney were sentenced to seven years for the first charge, reduced to six years four months because they had plead guilty.

Lady Stacey imposed three year jail terms for the neglect of the other children, but these will run concurrently to the sentence involving Lauren.