An Australian boy who died of a common ear infection lived in a house where the stench of feces and rotting food was overpowering, and layers of garbage on the floor were so thick police could not walk through some rooms.
An inquest into the death of Jarrad Roberts, 10, who died in October 2006, was held Wednesday. The panel was shown shocking video footage of the Adelaide home where he lived with his mother and older sister.
Senior Constable Darren Mead told South Australian Coroner Mark Johns he had found "bags upon bags" of garbage on entering the house, only three hours after Jarrad died in hospital.
"It just smelled of rotten food, of sweat, urine, feces," he said. "It just was a very overwhelming smell when we walked in."
Jarrad's death came hours after he was taken to a local health clinic by his family. He arrived in a wheelchair and seemed to be drowsy, complaining of pain in his neck, fever and bleeding from his right ear.
He had had the ear infection for five days, and it was recommended he go to the hospital for treatment. Instead, his mother Michelle took him home and gave him a dose of antibiotics.
He collapsed 20 minutes later.
The inquest is hearing evidence about Jarrad's medical treatment, as well as testimony from departmental officials on why he was living in such squalor at the house in Prospect, in Adelaide's inner north.
When police visited the house, they found bird feces from a pet pigeon covering the furniture, a fridge full of moldy food, and the bulbs missing from most of the ceiling lights.
"There was no toilet paper in the house at the time," Senior Constable Mead said.