When the world learned the full horror of Victoria
Climbie’s death, the finger of blame was immediately pointed at
Her great aunt and her boyfriend were convicted of
murder, but why wasn’t the eight-year-old saved from their evil
The spotlight was on the Haringey social workers who were
responsible for Climbie’s protection when she died in 2000.
Why were they so incompetent and how could they be punished? The
national media demanded answers.
Social worker Lisa Arthurworrey and her manager Carole Baptiste
faced the backlash from journalists about what they were doing
while the little girl was being kept in a freezing bath wrapped in
nothing but a bin liner. Climbie died from hypothermia and
starvation with injuries all over her body.
The government ordered an inquiry to be led by Lord Herbert
Laming, a former chief inspector of social services.
Haringey council launched its own investigation into the
performance of its child protection team, which has since resulted
in the dismissal of both Arthurworrey and Baptiste. Baptiste became
the first person to be fined for obstructing a government inquiry
after refusing to attend.
The council itself was heavily criticised by Laming after
persistent failures to produce relevant documents – some were even
discovered in a manager’s loft. Social services director Anne
Bristow was summoned to the inquiry to explain why so many
documents were submitted late. The NSPCC was also called to account
for discrepancies in the evidence it supplied.
The murderers Marie-Therese Kouao and Carl Manning gave evidence
to the inquiry in unprecedented moves.
They were among more than 150 witnesses at the inquiry, which
lasted nearly 10 months. Two years after it was commissioned, and
three years after Climbie was murdered, we now have the report into
the circumstances of her horrible death.
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To read full transcripts from the inquiry click