The tragic life of an 11-year-old autistic boy was uncovered years ago after he was found dead in a garden shed in his back yard.
James Marsh died of hypothermia after being flooded with water and locked up in a cold barn in September 2011.
His stepfather Martin Marsh, 50, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years behind bars, while his mother Sarah was acquitted.
The young boy, who had moved to the New South Wales Central West region with his parents and two siblings in 2010, had been diagnosed with autism and attention disorder at the age of three Daily telegram reported.
Photos of the scene show the filthy barn where James Marsh spent his last hours in September 2011
The boy's parents had tackled his autism and behavioral problems by holding him to a chair
This is the backyard of the family house and the garden shed where James died of hypothermia
Sarah and Martin Marsh (whose names have been changed to comply with court orders) were moved to a small townhouse after a meeting on a dating website and getting married in 2009.
Although the parents had initially received professional support services for James' disability, they later decided to take matters into their own hands.
Martin withdrew the boy from his school and claimed that he was not taken care of properly, and instead they decided to go to homeschool James.
But even at home, they struggled to address his behavioral problems – including biting fingernail and jumping off furniture – and began to hold him back from fear that he might hurt himself.
Their solution was to tie James to a toilet seat in the laundry for 12 hours a night, sometimes with a bag over his head – which Martin claimed was a tactic to help James fall asleep.
At one point he even used white PVC pipes on James' arms to restrain him after Googling to use a straitjacket.
When Martin questioned him, he explained: & # 39; I thought it was a good idea, because … he can't hurt himself, he can't do anything stupid. & # 39;
In the run-up to the boy's cruel death, witnesses had seen red flags abusing children.
A real estate agent who visited the house a month before his death found James locked up in a & # 39; filthy & # 39; room with droppings and urine on the floor.
Despite disturbing observations, Family and Community Services have never received reports of a child in danger, according to True Crime Australia
Martin had used ratchet straps to keep James tied to a chair
A trader said he once saw him be kept in what his family are & # 39; happy place & # 39; – a bordered part of their back yard.
There were also times when Martin his stepson & # 39; the idiot & # 39; called.
Despite disturbing observations, Family and Community Services have never received reports of a child in danger, according to True Crime Australia.
On September 30, 2011 – the day James died – Martin became so angry with him because he pooped in the house that he even rubbed the boy's face into it.
Around ten o'clock that night, he tied James to a chair in the garden shed and laid packing tape over his chest and head.
There was a heater in the dirty barn that was not connected, although the temperature had dropped to 5C that night.
When James tried to get up, Martin forced him to stay in the chair and threatened to & # 39; make him wet & # 39 ;.
Martin Marsh was sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter
Martin returned to his house to sleep, but woke up at 2 o'clock in the morning after he heard James get into the shed.
He took him inside, where he let James shower with cold water before putting him back in the shed for the rest of the night.
About 40 minutes later, his mother Sarah called the police after finding her son suffering from hypothermia.
Paramedic Craig Parsons, who responded to the call, described the moving scene and said, "I went to the bathroom and the little guy lay on the floor in the bathroom." He said James was as cold as ice.
James was declared dead in the hospital.
During police interviews, Martin claimed that James & # 39; was fit & # 39; before he fell to the ground and stopped breathing.
He also claimed that he had resorted to the extreme practices of tying James to a chair for the sake of the boy himself, so that he could get some rest.
Sarah and Martin claimed they had asked for help with the care of their child, but the police later discovered that they were well aware of their resources and were not using them.
The two were accused of James & # 39; s murder in May 2012, but the charges were later downlinked to manslaughter.
Sarah was not found guilty because she claimed she was unaware of the boy's condition the night he died.
A police investigation showed that someone had looked for how to treat hypothermia on a computer, but they could never prove who it was.
Martin Marsh could apply for parole in 2021.
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