A mother who neglected her three children and let her dogs starve to death after becoming obsessed with a computer game has been given a suspended prison sentence.
A court heard how the 33-year old mum of three, who lives in Kent, played internet games for six months, while her children were given no hot food and left to eat cold baked beans from the tin with their fingers.
Her home had become filthy, with rubbish strewn over the floor and the bodies of her two dogs, a German shepherd and a lucher, left rotting for two months in the dining room, it was revealed.
The woman, who can't be named for legal reasons, has three children, aged nine, 10 and 13. She was reported to the authorities by a neighbour who peered through the letterbox, Maidstone Crown Court heard.
When police officers arrived at the family's house in Swanley, Kent, in February, the woman tried to stop them entering her living room. She then confessed that she had killed her dogs, saying 'I probably starved them, probably because I have been playing the computer game all the time.'
At her court hearing, the prosecutor described how the game had quickly become an obsession to the point where she was only getting two hours' sleep a night. At first, she still managed to feed her children and get them to school, but she let everything else go.
'Afterwards, it became so overwhelming that she didn't know where to start,' said the prosecutor.
'It got to the stage where she only brought food that didn't need cooking.
The children were taken into care, but her defence lawyer said that she hoped to be reunited with them in the future.
The mother was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, which was suspended for two years, and ordered to do 75 hours' unpaid work. She was also banned from keeping animals and using the internet. She admitted to three charges of child cruelty and two of animal neglect.
The woman had been a ' devoted and competent mother' until her husband's death from a heart attack, the defence lawyer told the court.
Obviously this is an extraordinarily extreme case, but have you ever found yourself ignoring the kids in favour of computer games?