An Australian-born mother and her migrant husband who allegedly beat and tortured their 14 children at a squalid ‘house of horrors’ presented themselves as ‘the perfect family’.
But NSW Police allege the couple subjected their children, aged from their teens down to a six-month-old baby, to unspeakable abuse.
Police allege much of the abuse occurred inside a ‘dirty and filthy’ two-story brick home on an otherwise friendly suburban Sydney street.
The home – allegedly damaged by the mother – now sits abandoned and uninhabitable in a suburb that cannot be named for legal reasons.
Both parents were recently charged with a total of 60 offenses, which relate to a vast array of allegations, including that some kids were whipped and beaten.
The children were banned from going to school and sometimes allegedly fed pet-quality food.
The charges the parents face include serious assault offenses, indecent assault of a child under 16; taking and detaining to gain advantage for sexual, psychological, and physical abuse; and intentionally sexually touching a child under 10 years old.
The mother, 44, is also charged with destroying and damaging the home where the children were allegedly abused, knowingly concealing alleged child abuse, and failing to inform police.
Neighbors broke their silence about what they knew of the family from outside their now-abandoned and uninhabitable home.
The father, 56, is a migrant who fled his Arabic-speaking home country after refusing to serve in the nation’s army – a crime that carried a death sentence at the time.
After serving time in a detention center, he became a permanent resident and married an Australian woman of Anglo background, who converted to Islam.
They allegedly kept the family in ‘atrocious conditions’ at the Sydney home.
The mother was heard shouting at the children from inside the house and rarely seen outside the chained and bolted fence, except when wearing an Islamic niqab.
One neighbor said that the father repaired washing machines and other white goods ‘to help pay the bills and was defensive about his children not going to school.
He was allegedly traumatized about his past, but ‘was smiling and helpful’ to neighbors and ‘always walking up the street offering assistance’.
But one resident said: ‘I knew there were 13 or 14 kids in there we never saw or heard them’.
Another neighbor said: ‘The windows were always covered and we only saw the children inside when once they waved from the balcony.
‘Except the boys who did go out with (the dad) and the older girls going to prayers with (the father) chasing them down the street.
‘They had chickens, a sheep, and rabbits, which escaped into our garden, and the father was always apologetic to us.
‘He was very strict but said he (believed he) was creating a perfect place for all the kids.
‘He was very friendly and brought over sweets and gifts on (Islamic) holidays.
‘When the house became uninhabitable it took him a long time to find anything suitable for so many kids.’
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