A stepmother who subjected three girls to “the childhood of nightmares,” has been jailed for two years for historic abuse. A court heard how Caroline Sharpe, now 65, treated the young girls as slaves, and left them without food or love while they lived with her.

Sharpe was mother to one of the girls and stepmother to the other two, after their own mother passed away in 1973. While the abuse took place between 1975 and 1991, it only came to light when one of the stepdaughters plucked up the courage to go to police just over a year ago.

She revealed to officers that she and her sisters had been treated as slaves, denied baths for weeks and were not allowed enough food. Prosecutor Gordon Stables said that the girls were so hungry, they would steal food from the cupboards, but then would be beaten by Sharp when she discovered they had taken something.

Sent to school hungry

He said they would have to go to school without any food, and then the only thing they had to eat when they returned was cold and congealed porridge leftover from the morning. He added that they would often not get anything to eat from Friday teatime to when they finished school on Monday. On one occasion, one of the stepdaughters said she was so thirsty she drank out of a toilet bowl because she was not allowed anything to drink.

They were also prevented from bathing, and from using washing facilities, or a toothbrush. Sharp, from North Lincolnshire, has now admitted three offences of child cruelty, and been sentenced to two years in jail. Sitting at Grimsby Crown Court, Judge Paul Watson QC told her that she had provided “the childhood of nightmares”. He added: “At your hands, they were abused, humiliated, belittled and neglected.”