A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and David Callaghan.

Public inquiry into death of abused girl

The government has ordered public hearings of evidence
surrounding the death of eight-year-old Anna Climbie. The girl was
murdered in London last year having been abused for months.

An independent inquiry into failings by social workers, police
and NHS staff will begin shortly, according to health minister
responsible for children’s services, John Hutton. He claimed
it was essential to ensure lessons were learned from the tragedy to
strengthen safeguards for vulnerable children.

Managers expected a private inquiry, and were surprised by
Hutton’s decision to make details of mistakes surrounding the
case to be made public.

The girl’s great aunt Marie Therese Kouao, and her
boyfriend Carl Manning were convicted of cruelty and murder at the
Old Bailey in January and jailed for life.

Anna had been bought to the attention of social services three
times and discharged from hospital twice after she arrived in
Britain from the Ivory Coast.

Hutton said the inquiry would be the first “tripartite”
investigation using powers under the Children Act, the NHS Act and
Police Act.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday April 21 page 5

Rape victim’s husband is threatened in court

A BBC television presenter was threatened in court yesterday, by
the brother of the man accused of raping the presenter’s

John Archibald was jailed for three years for the rape of the
terminally ill woman who was being cared for in a nursing home, and
on sentencing, his brother Mark turned to the victim’s
husband, trying to punch him and shouted: “I’ll get you for
this, I’ll have you.”

The presenter had previously had to contact the police having
received threats of “revenge”.

Archibald was restrained by members of his Gypsy family, but
left the court repeating the threat.

The presenter who has worked for BBC, Sky and American networks
cannot be named to protect his wife’s identity.

The journalist’s wife is in the final stages of
Huntingdon’s disease, a fatal degenerative brain condition
that she has suffered for 12 years.

Archibald and his brother were visiting another patient at a
Buckinghamshire nursing home in February last year, when he raped
the woman in her bedroom. He gave the heavily medicated woman
cannabis and cigarettes before raping her twice in front of a
terrified wheelchair bound resident.

He was also convicted of indecent assault.

Judge Mary Jane Mowat sentenced Archibald for the “repellent,
wicked and disgusting” rape of the mother of two. She ordered
Archibald’s name to be placed on the sex offenders’
register for life.

Source:- The Times Saturday April 21 page 5

Head hit disabled students is jailed

A headmaster of a school for those with a disability was jailed
for a year yesterday for punching and humiliating pupils.

A woman volunteer at Regent Special School in Tividale, West
Midlands, reported the headmaster Geoffrey Lloyd after years of
“gratuitous violence”, because the teachers were too scared to
confront him.

Wolverhampton crown court heard how Lloyd dragged a
seven-year-old pupil out of a nursery class, punching him as he
marched him down the corridor. Another teenager with Down’s
Syndrome was pushed against a wall and held by his arms while Lloyd
shouted at him.

Teachers turned a blind eye until the woman volunteer saw the
man lose his temper with a severely disabled 15-year-old boy, who
suffered from epilepsy.

The complaint led to an investigation into Lloyd’s 10
years as headmaster.

Lloyd admitted six charges of cruelty against three pupils.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 21 April page 3

Allowance for mothers to work or stay at

Mothers will be given a weekly allowance whether they work or
stay at home with their young children, according to plans being
drawn up by Downing Street.

A flat rate payment for all families during the early years of a
child’s life, is being supported by the Number 10 policy

Parents would have the choice whether to spend the money on
childcare, and return to work, or keep the money if they chose to
look after the child themselves.

Although the Treasury is said to be sceptical about the plans,
Blair’s most senior advisers believe the scheme would prove
the government’s commitment to the family.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday April 21 page 1

Abducted boy

A woman who became infatuated with a 14-year-old boy, has been
told she must never see him again, according to a judge.

Rosina Lowe, who is wheelchair bound, got a two-year community
rehabilitation order.

Source:- The Times Saturday April 21 page 7

Childcare ‘turns out smarter, nastier

The biggest long-term study of child care has found that
children placed with childminders or in nurseries turn out
aggressive, disobedient and defiant by the time they are in

Source:- The Independent Saturday 21
April 2001 page 9

Young offenders will be ordered to ‘pay
back’ by clearing litter

A reform to the criminal justice system will see young offenders
made to clear litter, clean graffiti and mend the property they

The prime minister is to promise that if Labour is voted into
power for a second term at the general election, a new scheme will
be introduced called “community payback”.

Many under 18 offenders already face new youth offending teams
under new changes brought in as part of the Crime and Disorder Act
1998. The teams have the power to keep offenders out of court, and
free of a fine, providing they agree to apologise to the victim of
their crime.

In some areas, young offenders already clear litter or dig
plants in public gardens as part of their “sentence”. However, with
youth offending teams’ agreement, the scheme could be rolled out

Blair’s speech is expected to include the following
statement: “Young offenders take something out of the community
through their offending. We will make sure they put something

Source:- Sunday Times April 22 page 7

Paedophile raids

Among 87 people being questioned by police in Prague
investigating an international paedophile ring, are two British

Czech authorities raided clubs, businesses and homes of
suspected organisers.

Source:-Sunday Times April 22 page 28

Labour failing to meet pledges on race

The political row over racism has intensified as the Labour
Party has been accused of being institutionally racist.

An investigation revealed Labour failed to meet its target on
electing black and Asian MPs at the next general election. The row
intensified yesterday as it emerged that 10 out of the 12 new black
and Asian candidates who will fight the election in June, are in
what the party refers to as “hopeless seats”.

Officers in the Race and Violent Crime Task Force said they were
shocked to discover the relationship between political rhetoric,
such as Conservative leader William Hague’s speech saying
Britain would be a “foreign land” under Labour, and an increase in
attacks on asylum seekers.

Reports of hate crime increased threefold in March after
Hague’s speech.

The row over race began as Tory MPs refused to sign an anti
racist pledge, claiming it prevented freedom of speech.

Source:- The Observer Sunday April 22 page 1

Pupils forced on to drug

Parents are facing pressures to put their children on to the
psycho active drug Ritalin, that can cause severe side effects, in
a bid to prevent their expulsion from school.

Pupils have been given the drug by school secretaries, dinner
ladies and fellow pupils. An estimated 21,000 pupils are taking
Ritalin and it is expected that by 2007, one in seven children will
be using it.

The drug is prescribed for children with attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder, which is reputedly rising.

Research by Professor Steve Baldwin, who tragically died in the
Selby train crash, has now been released.

Baldwin urged for the ban of the drug in schools and repeatedly
warned of problems including cardiovascular problems, psychosis,
hallucinations and violent and suicidal behaviour.

According to the study, one 11-year-old child taking Ritalin
barked like a dog, drank from puddles and left suicide notes for
his parents.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 22 April page 8

Asylum claims blocks search for justice

Mystery surrounds death of holiday-maker whose Turkish boyfriend
has been given refuge in Britain.

Source:- The Observer Sunday April 22 2001 page 8

Met turns to disabled to help relieve staff

Scotland Yard’s deepening recruitment crisis will be
helped by the introduction of volunteering disabled people in
wheelchairs, who will monitor surveillance cameras to catch muggers
and street thieves.

City workers and accountants will also be asked to volunteer and
analyse crime trends.

The volunteering initiative backed by Sir John Stevens, the
commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, was condemned yesterday by
the police association as “crass”, “unrealistic” and

The scheme comes as new figures have revealed that the numbers
of officers in the Met are falling, despite extra money and a
recruitment campaign. It has 119 fewer officers than a year ago,
according to the force’s police authority last week.

The Met will ask people to volunteer for work, which would free
officers from desk jobs.

Tarique Ghaffur, deputy assistant commissioner, said: “We know
that people in wheelchairs make excellent CCTV viewers…with
private security guards their focus is not there – they are
not so motivated.”

The Disability Rights Commission said it was a welcome way of
disabled people gaining work experience.

“But disabled people want more than volunteering opportunities.
They want employment opportunities as well,” a spokesperson

Source:- The Independent Monday April 23 page

Internet twins see parents

The twins at the centre of the transatlantic internet adoption
row, saw their natural parents for the first time since they were
taken to Wales by Judith and Alan Kilshaw.

Kiara and Keyara Wecker were brought to Wales by the Kilshaws
after they paid a child broker on the internet money to adopt the

Tranda and Aaron Wecker, who are separated, were each allowed to
see the twins for an hour in St Louis.

They have twice offered the children for adoption, but Wecker
says she wants the children back.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday April 23 2001 page

Arson attack at home may be linked to rape

An arson attack on a minibus outside the nursing home where the
dying wife of a television presenter was raped, could be linked to
the case.

John Archibald, a bare knuckle boxer, with the mental age of
nine, was jailed for three years for the rape of the presenter’s
wife. A day later the bus for disabled residents was set

The presenter who works for the BBC said it was too much of a
coincidence, and believes him and his wife have become the target
of a revenge campaign.

Police have said they cannot say at this stage whether the arson
attack is linked to the previous incident at the home.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday April 23 page 7

Coastguards save storm ship migrants

Five hundred illegal immigrants, who used mobile phones to
report that the crew of a freighter smuggling them into Italy had
abandoned the ship in gale force winds, were rescued by Rome
coastguards yesterday.

Many of the migrants were believed to have been travelling to
Britain, had each paid £1,400 for the voyage from a Turkish

The 30-year-old vessel contained human cargo including 60
children and several pregnant women, and was towed to the Italian
port of Gallipoli.

An official said last night: “Several have told us their final
destination was Britain where they have friends and families. They
told us that friends had said a job, money and housing was waiting
for them when they arrived in Britain.”

It is understood that those migrants who can prove they have a
job to go to, or are facing persecution at home will be allowed to

It is unclear what happened to the crew.

Source:- Daily Mail Monday April 23 page 14

Racial harmony ‘threatened by party

The Labour and Conservative parties were accused of using the
anti-racism pledge to sling mud at each other yesterday.

Gurbux Singh, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality,
said he was “deeply saddened” that an attempt to take race out of
the campaign had backfired so greatly.

He said the CRE’s compact had degenerated into parties
“squabbling with each other to establish who is more or less racist
than each other”.

His comments came as Ann Widdecombe said the CRE’s compact
was “silly and unnecessary”, and that she herself had signed only
because as shadow home secretary she would be addressing asylum and
did not want a diversion to be caused by her failure to sign.

Source:- The Times Monday April 23 page 4

Scottish newspapers

Too few nurses to cope with scourge of multiple

The number of nurses who specialise in multiple sclerosis in
Scotland is “woeful” despite the country having the highest rate
for the disease in the world.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society says there are only seven nurses
in the whole of the country, and large areas are not covered.

The greater Glasgow area, which has at least 1,850 MS patients,
has only one specialist nurse. She also provides cover for five
other health board areas.

Mike Hazelwood, director of the MS Society speaking at the
beginning of MS awareness week, said: “There is a gross
under-provision and patients are suffering as a result.”

The provision in England is at a similar level to Scotland, but
the incidence of MS is approximately half, possibly for genetic

Last year The Scotsman highlighted the year-long wait
for an out-patient appointment with a neurologist facing many MS

Source:- The Scotsman Monday 23 April






More from Community Care

Comments are closed.