Belgium - MO - A barbaric couple who ‘waterboarded’ their four children during ten years of captivity and abuse have gone on trial in Belgium. Parents Sebastien Hardenne and Isabelle Simon also kept their three girls and a boy in a locked room at night and ‘fed’ them through a small hole in the wall, it was heard. They beat them with sticks, an iron bar and whips and tortured them with an electric fly swatter, police have revealed. The father urinated in the children’s mouths and even practised ‘water-boarding’ torture similar to that allegedly used at America’s Guantanamo Bay prison, the court was told.

Two girls were also locked in a suitcase smeared with dog excrement and swung around a room, it was heard.

Social services in the town of Biron were alerted by the children’s school in 2003 that they were dirty and undernourished, but the warning went unheeded.

The youngsters - now aged 11 to around 16 - are being cared for permanently by social services in the town of Namur. Neighbour Anne-Marie Durieux told Belgian media the saw the couple as worse than notorious Belgian child killer Marc Dutroux.