Council defends its role in cruelty case

Plymouth Council is fighting a coroner’s decision to investigate
its role in the death of a baby.

In a judicial review this week, the High Court heard that the
call, by South Devon coroner Nigel Meadows, for the inquest into
Perrin Barlow’s death to consider the role of “system neglect” was
based on a misunderstanding of councils’ role in child protection

The court heard that Perrin was on the child protection register
and under an interim supervision order at the time of his death in
July 2002, while a council crisis intervention team was working
with his family.

His mother, Stephanie Horrocks, and her partner Mark McAndrew
were jailed last February after pleading guilty to child

Paul Storey QC, representing the council, defended its decision
not to take Perrin into care, saying there was uncertainty over the
cause of his poor health. “There is no absolute duty upon the state
to remove a child from his parents simply because there is a risk,”
he told the court.

The case was expected to conclude this week.

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