Disturbing news from the computer games world.
A mum became so hooked on playing games on her computer that she left her kids to eat cold baked beans from a tin and let her dogs starve to death.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the woman in Swanley, Kent, forgot to feed her German Shepherd and lurcher dogs, leaving their bodies to rot in her dining room for two months.
It was only when a neighbour peered through the letterbox and saw what was going on that the authorities were called in.
When the police arrived they found a distressing scene.
Maidstone Crown Court heard that the mum admitted to the officers at her door that the house was “in a bit of a mess”.
But on entering the property they found mouldy food, a swarm of flies, rubbish all over the floor and the loo in a disgusting state.
The 33-year-old widow tried to stop them going into the dining room, confessing: “All right, my dogs are in there. They are dead. I killed them. I probably starved them, probably because I have been playing the computer game all the time.”
Deepak Kapur, prosecuting, said: “Police discovered the bodies of the dogs. Flies were around them. The smell was so overpowering, making the officers wretch.”
Meanwhile, the woman had become so obsessed with the computer game that the kids had been given no hot food for months. The poor mites, aged nine, 10 and 13, were apparently forced to scrape what nutrition they could from tins of cold baked beans - and without spoons.
The court heard that the mum, who was not identified, had started playing online for an hour a day in 2009. But by August last year it had started taking over her life to such an extent that she was surviving on just two hours of sleep a night. It was then that she began to feed her children only on foods that did not need cooking.
Allan Compton, defending, said the woman had been a devoted and competent mother until her husband had died of a heart attack some years ago.
“She retreated into this virtual world provided by her laptop computer,” he explained.
The woman admitted three charges of child cruelty and two of animal neglect.
She escaped jail but was given a two year suspended sentence and ordered to do 75 hours unpaid work.
She was also banned from keeping animals or having any internet access, with Judge Jeremy Carey telling her: “I am satisfied you have been a good mother but your life went very badly wrong when you became obsessed with the computer game.”
*Update The press got this one a little bit wrong, including us. See this statement for further details.