French police are investigating the sordid case of a Parisian "upstairs downstairs" family after two young boys were found to be living in a cellar while their stepbrothers were "spoiled" in the family's home upstairs, attending private school and dancing in the Paris opera.
The two boys, aged 10 and 12, spent three years in "hell" after their father, aged 39, began a relationship with a 44-year old woman who had two sons of her own, aged seven and 17.
While the father, stepmother and her sons lived "comfortably" in their detached house in a quiet district of Pavillon-sous-Bois in Seine-Saint-Denis, northeast of Paris, the father's offspring were forced to sleep "amidst their own detritus" on two little mattresses in a cellar with no windows, electricity, running water or toilet.
Desperate to escape their life of misery, the eldest of the two mistreated boys managed to slip out last week and reach the nearest police station.
The father and stepmother have been arrested and charged with "violence against minors, neglect and food deprivation". (© Daily Telegraph, London)