A Japanese couple living in Brabant have been jailed for four years for systematically starving and mistreating six of their seven children.
The court in Breda found the couple guilty of the attempted murder of five of their children, by giving them such small amounts of food that they could have died, and of physically abusing them. The case was ‘totally shocking’, the judges said in their ruling.
Noriku and Hidufun M, aged 40 and 39, moved to the village of Molenschot near Breda in February 2018 with their seven children, three each from a previous marriage and their new baby.
But by the end of June, the parents were in custody and several children had been hospitalised because they had been systematically starved and beaten. According to the AD, school teachers reported that the children were begging for food from classmates and scavenging for food from bins, the paper said.
The family were picked up while heading for Germany in a minibus after the oldest child, a 12-year-old boy, escaped at a motorway service station. ‘He was in a foreign country, far away from all he knew,’ the court said. ‘It is hard to imagine how desperate he must have been.’
All the children are now living with relatives back in Japan.
It is unclear from the Dutch media reports why the family was in the Netherlands. However, according to local broadcaster Omroep Brabant, they had little contact with outsiders and reports of ‘strange behaviour’ began circulating in the village soon after they arrived.
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