It is often difficult to think what horrors are happening behind locked doors. Once upon a time there was a house of horrors behind the door of a brilliant white house in Merseyside, England.
From a very young age, Joanne Lee had worked hard to keep her home clean and to take care of her brother and sister; obligations her own mother found were hard to meet.
But when the hardworking daughter moved out, her mother let her house decline into a horrible state. It got so bad that she was not even able to access the bathroom due to trash that had been piled up.
So, she had no concept of the gruesome discovery she was about to find when she agreed to help clean her mom’s house.
According to her daughter Joanne, now aged 48, Mom Bernadette Quirk let her home enter a disgusting state.
Her mother, who has gone by now, used to live surrounded by maggots, faeces and the soiled diapers of her son.
Joanne said the refrigerator broke at one stage and she just left the food in there to rot and she broke her washing machine, but she left the clothes inside for years.
But unknown to Joanne and her younger sister Cath, she had also hidden around the house the bodies of her deceased baby girls.
Joanne informed The Mirror that her mother had a number of casual partners throughout her life.
Joanne suspected that this would continue, a feeling that would be confirmed later.
But it was in 1998 that Cath noticed in the closet a “putrid” smell coming from a red bin.
She put her hand inside the bin and felt a baby’s head; she became hysterical and called her sister and said, “Oh God, I’ve found it. I felt the head,” according to The Mirror.
Bernadette confessed after facing her mother that it was her child who was born stillborn. They then asked their mother to give a suitable burial to the child, they called Helen.
They buried Helen next to her grandma, who died 30 minutes after birth, and Joanne’s own baby daughter.
But there is no end to this terrible tale.
Several years later, the sisters would make the same gruesome discovery and after talking to a family friend the police were alerted.
“She went into the hallway, to make the call which would change my life – and the lives around me – forever,” Joanne writes in her book, according to The Sun.
In her mother’s home, police found three other children.
Her mom appeared in court and confessed that she had hidden a birth for four counts. According to The Sun, the tribunal learned that the bodies had been concealed for up to 20 years, disguising the smell with air freshener.
Mom Bernadette was spared prison, receiving a two-year community order instead.
Such a sad story for all the women and the poor babies involved. We are praying for Joanne Lee and her sister Cath and also their mother. Clearly, she is troubled and we hope she gets the help she needs.
Joanne has written a book about her life called “Silent sisters.”