A couple from Engis in the province of Liege has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for starving his daughter between 2013 and 2016. In the end, the 3-year-old girl weighed just below 8 kilograms, which is about half the normal weight of a child at her age. It was the child’s school and grandmother who raised the alarm. The girl was immediately admitted to the hospital, where she gained 3 kilograms in 3 weeks and grew 4 centimeters.
During an earlier court session on May 22, the public prosecutor said that the parents had always closely followed what their daughter ate. They would have thought their child had certain allergies, but they were never confirmed by a doctor.
The first time alarm bells rang was when the child started going to school. There the teachers soon saw that something was wrong with the physique and behavior of the girl. For example, when she was offered food, she threw herself into it like a starving animal.
The school told the parents several times about their daughter’s health, but they did not respond. It was ultimately the girl’s grandmother who brought salvation. She discovered that the child never got milk, but only dry rusks and water, and that she had to sleep without blankets in an unheated room.
In August 2016 the girl was rushed to the hospital. She was skinned and weighed just under 8 kilograms, which according to the growth curve of Child and Family is about half of an average 3-year-old girl. The hospital staff discovered that the child had never been to a pediatrician, that she had not been vaccinated and that her growth had been delayed. In 3 weeks she has gained no less than 3 kilograms and grown 4 centimeters.
In the meantime, the child no longer lives with her parents. The latter were sentenced to two-thirds of their 18-month prison term with deferment. They must also pay damages of 1,000 euros to their daughter’s lawyer and provisional guardian. The money will be placed in an account and kept until the child reaches the age of majority.