A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Respectful court closures ‘risk havoc’ for
child cases

Vulnerable children in care could face months waiting for
decisions about their future as a result of hearings being
cancelled on the day of the Queen Mother’s funeral, lawyers
said yesterday.

A London solicitor specialising in child care cases said: “A
child might be waiting for a decision to be placed in a permanent
household or returned to the family. It can take months to get a
one-day or two-day hearing in family cases.”

She said her firm had five cases to be heard next Tuesday, and
she had been told they would now not be going ahead.

The lord chancellor announced this week that the court of
appeal, the high court, the crown court and county courts would not
sit next Tuesday as a mark of respect for the Queen Mother.

The solicitor, who asked not to be named, said it was arrogant
that decisions were being made without consultation.

Source:- The Guardian Friday 5 April page 9

A law unto himself

An 11-year-old boy branded a ‘one boy crimewave’ was
back in court yesterday.

Six hours after being freed following a number of offences, the
boy stole yet another vehicle. A police officer was injured when
the youngster was stopped after driving a Ford Transit dangerously
around his council estate in Cardiff.

At his earlier court appearance, magistrates were forced to let
the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, go as he is too
young to be locked up. Under the law, the boy cannot be sent to
secure accommodation until he is 12.

Despite being placed on a 13-hour night curfew and being
electronically tagged, nothing has stopped him from continually
re-offending. He has appeared in court around 150 times in the last
11 months.

Source:- Daily Mail Friday 5 April page 31

Damilola doctor says wound was accident

The wound on Damilola Taylor’s leg was caused by him
falling on part of a broken bottle, a doctor said at the Old Bailey

Consultant in accident and emergency at the Royal London
Hospital, Alistair Wilson, said he saw similar injuries in his
department once a month. But he admitted it was rare for such
wounds to prove fatal as is the case of Damilola, who died as a
result of the wound.

Wilson appeared on behalf of the defence yesterday as the case
was submitted that Damilola had not been murdered, but injured
himself on some glass.

The court was told that a small black boy was seen playing with
broken glass two minutes before Damilola was found bleeding to

Two brothers aged 16 deny murder, manslaughter and assault with
intent to rob.

The hearing continues.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 5 April page 11

Scottish newspapers

Child’s killer jailed

Mark Connelly has been sentenced to at least 16 years in jail
for the murder of his 33-month-old step son, Scott Saunders.

Connelly, a first offender and heroin addict, had been found
guilty of murdering the child having starved him, beaten him and
then abandoned him in a room to die a lingering death. Lord
Kingarth at Glasgow high court sentenced Connelly to life
imprisonment with the recommendation that he serve at least 16
years. The child’s mother, Michelle Hanson, had already been
sentenced to nine years for culpable homicide. Connelly denied the

Source:- The Herald Friday 5 April page 7

Housing stock ballot results announced

The results of the ballot to determine the future management of
Glasgow council’s housing stock will be announced later
today. A simple majority of the 78,000 tenants entitled to vote
will see the transfer of the city’s housing stock to the
privately funded Glasgow Housing Association.

Source The Herald Friday 5 April page 11

Welsh newspapers

Minister kicks off care inquiry

The investigation into the care provided at 10 residential homes
for older people in South Wales will last until late summer.

Welsh social services minister Jane Hutt said that inspectors
would make their report after carrying out fieldwork, which is
expected to last three months.

The investigation, to be carried out by the Social Services
Inspectorate for Wales, will look at the arrangements between Hafod
Housing Association which owns the homes and Cardiff council which
manages the staff.

Concerns were first raised about the care of older people at
Hazelcroft residential home in Cardiff, and there were a number of
calls for a public inquiry after allegations of neglect of

Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday April 4 page 13

Police to target repeat attackers

An initiative aimed at preventing repeat domestic violence
attacks is likely to be implemented following a highly successful
one-year pilot.

The scheme, which has been in operation in Ely in Cardiff, is
said by South Wales police to have produced remarkable results and
to have reduced attacks to an all-time low. It is now due to be
introduced throughout the city.

The project works through a three-stage system directed at both
victims and their abusers. The first stage follows the reporting of
an incident, where the victim is offered support and advice and the
abuser is contacted by a senior police officer who informs them
that the police are aware of the attack.

If a second incident is reported the next stage known as ‘police
watch’ is set in motion, where the victim is given greater
protection by regular drive-by patrols and home visits. In addition
the victim is offered what is called Cocoon Watch, where outside
agencies as well as friends and neighbours are nominated to contact
the police should a further attack take place.

Source:- Western Mail Friday 5 April page 10

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