A STARVING boy of three almost died after being put in a freezing punishment "cell" at home where he was so hungry he ate his own hair.
Sadistic mum Lisa Brooks and stepdad Tomas Lewis locked the helpless youngster in the bare room for hours with no lights or heating. The sick pair even took camera phone footage of the boy in the room of their council-owned semi.
A court heard the child was just hours from dying when cops rescued him as it snowed outside in Pontypool, South Wales. PC James Periam was close to tears as he said: "I found the boy locked in a bare cell-like room.
"There was no lighting, the radiator was turned off and it was snowing outside.
"All there was in the room was a potty, a bowl and a fork.
"The child and walls were covered in faeces and when I held the boy he was flopping on my shoulder.
"His eyes rolled to the back of his head with his breathing shallow, he was ice cold and lifeless."
The youngster — who cannot be named — was rushed to Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny for emergency medical treatment.
Ward manager Ann Beard told Cardiff Crown Court: "If he was not brought in when he was, he would have died in hours — the weather was so cold outside."
Doctor Paul Davies said: "He was eating food like he'd never eaten before.
"He had ripped out and eaten his own hair. He was extremely hungry and dehydrated."
Brooks, 25, and Lewis, 22, of Pontypool, admitted wilful neglect of a child. Brooks was jailed for three years and Lewis for three and a half years.
Judge John Curran told them: "All children are entitled to a secure and happy childhood.
"Depriving them of this is very serious and this is what you have done with your abusive and sadistic behaviour."
The judge lifted reporting restrictions so the cruel pair could be named and shamed. The boy has since been adopted by a foster family and shows no signs of psychological damage.
Brooks and Lewis had another child who has also been taken into care. The couple were already known to social services in the Torfaen County Council area of South Wales.
Police acting on an anonymous tip-off uncovered the three-year-old's appalling condition just three weeks before Christmas 2010. Detective Inspector Mark Johnson, of Gwent Police's public protection unit, said: "The neglect experienced by the child in this case was horrific.
"The sentence reflects the severity of the neglect and we are hopeful that it will help to deter and prevent any future possible mistreatment of children."