A three-year-old girl who was "unloved and unwanted" was left to starve to death locked away in a beetle-infested bedroom above a Sheffield pub, a court heard today.
Little Tiffany Hirst was abandoned in her locked room for as long as two days before she died.
The court was told that her body, covered in bites, was found by paramedics in her bed in a room above the Scarborough Arms pub on Addy Street, Upperthorpe.
Sheffield Crown Court heard that Tiffany, who weighed less than a child of a year younger when found, died of pneumonia after becoming weak due to repeated and severe malnourishment.
The court was told that the Hirsts were in the habit of leaving children locked upstairs for more than 12 months before Tiffany's death.
Senior detective Det Ch Insp Steve Williams said the toddler was "unloved, unwanted and left to die alone" and that police officers dealing with the case had been left traumatised after discovering the child’s body.
He added: "She was like a tiny porcelain doll, so tiny and frail and we all wondered how this had been allowed to happen in this day and age.
"We have heard Tiffany would be seen staring out of her bedroom window and this was probably the little girl's cry for help but nobody realised - it is heartbreaking."
Tiffany lived in quarters above the pub, which were described by the judge as "filthy and dangerous", with her mother, Sabrina Hirst, 22, and stepfather Robert Hirst, 54.
The pair were initially accused of murder but the charges were reduced to manslaughter and neglect for Mrs Hirst and neglect for Mr Hirst.
The couple pleaded guilty to the charges and are expected to receive lengthy jail terms when sentenced at a later date.