Multi-agency rules in place after death

Wiltshire’s area child protection committee
has revised its admission and discharge procedures for situations
where there has been a previous sudden death of a child in a
family, following the death of Matthew Cannings.

Matthew died at the age of 18
weeks in November 1999. His mother Angela was given two life
sentences at Winchester Crown Court last week for murdering Matthew
and another son Jason in 1991, aged seven weeks.

Following Winchester ACPC’s case
review, a multi-agency protocol developed by all relevant agencies
is now in place to respond to the unexplained death of a

organisations have improved record-keeping where there is a sudden
or unexplained death of a child or children in a family, and
pathologists required to carry out post mortems of children must
have specialist paediatric training.

Chairperson of Wiltshire area
child protection committee Annie Hudson said: “The report
recognises that there was substantially more information on the
possible causes of early infant death at the time of Matthew’s

“Although advice was sought from
experts in the field of multiple cot deaths, this was not
rigorously followed up by a co-ordinated inter-agency approach that
would have included the potential need for health, social services
and the police to undertake a broader multi-agency assessment of
the family’s circumstances.”


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