Leicester agencies failed to spot estranged father’s risks to son

Professionals failed to spot the risks posed by a father who murdered his two-year-old son, known as Child W, while staying at his ex-partner’s home, a serious case review has found.

Agencies in Leicester believed Child W, who was being looked after by his mother, only saw his father on weekly visits to a relative.

But in echoes of the Baby P case, professionals failed to realise that the father was spending a “significant” amount of time at the home. He was suffering from depression and was known to have “obsessional worries” about his son, the review found.

Child W’s father pleaded guilty to murdering the boy, who died in October 2007. He was jailed for life at Leicester Crown Court with a minimum term of 16 years.

Separation “does not end risk”

The father was controlling in his behaviour towards his child and ex-partner, the SCR found.“His level of control over [her] meant it would have been very difficult for her to be open about their situation,” it said.

An internal review by Leicester Council’s children and young people’s service carried out after the incident, cited in the SCR, reminded staff: “It should never be assumed that the fact that parents have separated will minimise risk”.

Action on assessments

The serious case review by Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Local Safeguarding Children Board said it was important for professionals to include the fathers of children in any assessment, even if they lived away from the family.

However, it concluded that the available evidence “did not indicate that Child W’s death could have been predicted”.

Related articles

Lurking in the shadows: Why stepfathers kill

Nottinghamshire serious case reviews reveal safeguarding failings

Child protection: expert guide

Baby P case: expert guide


More from Community Care

Comments are closed.