A summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Mother and son ‘died from

An Eton pupil and his mother killed themselves in despair at her
chronic illness and him living away at boarding school, an inquest
heard yesterday.

Dinesha Gunawardena and her son Keshan were found on a bed by
the boy’s father, having taken an overdose of more than 100
painkillers and sleeping pills. There was a trail of notes leading
to the bedroom saying do not disturb.

The mother suffered chronic fatigue syndrome and the inquest was
also told that mother and son were unhappy the boy boarded at Eton,
having won a scholarship.

The father Dr Gunawardena said his son had already attempted
suicide once having put his fingers in a plug socket, but a child
psychiatrist said she thought it was an isolated incident brought
on by low self-esteem.

The East Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford recorded two verdicts
of suicide.

Source:- The Guardian Friday 20 July page 8

Teenager doused infant in fuel

A 16-year-old girl abducted a four-year-old boy, doused him in
lighter fuel and asked him to smoke a cigarette, a court was told

During months of crime, the girl took the boy from his home and
abandoned him on a recreational ground, the youth court in Fareham
heard. The boy was found by his grandmother, after the family
searched the area.

The teenager was remanded in a secure centre yesterday after she
admitted abducting the boy and a series of other offences.

Police said the girl had been unknown to them before she began a
crime spree in June. She also set rubbish bins on fire, threatened
supermarket staff, burnt children’s clothes who were swimming
in a river and attacked plant and flower displays.

At a previous hearing, she admitted charges involving arson,
possession of a knife and four charges of criminal damage.

Parents said there would be a risk of vigilante action if the
girl had been released.

The girl will be sentenced at a later date.

Source:- The Times Friday 20 July page 13

Safety plea on Chunnel

A Labour MP has called for the safety measures of the Channel
Tunnel to be reviewed, following the deaths of four refugees who
were trying to reach Dover.

Gwyn Posser, member for Dover, urged a debate on the matter
saying: “These desperate people are resorting to desperate means.”
He added dozens of illegal immigrants were arriving in his

Robin Cook, leader of the House of Commons, said he hoped the
flow of illegal immigrants would be curbed by co-operation with the
French police.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Friday 20 July page 12

Labour MPs ready to decriminalise pot

The majority of Labour MPs are prepared to vote to decriminalise
cannabis, a BBC survey has revealed.

David Winnick, a Labour member of the House of Commons home
affairs select committee, said he thought the drug would be
legalised by the next general election.

More than 80 per cent of the 116 Labour MPs surveyed said they
would support a royal commission examination of the matter. Only 31
opposed decriminalisation.

The home office said: “We have no plans to legalise any
currently controlled substances. We see no current need for a royal
commission on drug control but will continue to monitor all aspects
of progress on the strategy.”

Source:- Daily Mail Friday 20 July page 22

Scottish newspapers

Mother found guilty of attacks on her son

A 27-year-old woman collapsed in court yesterday when the jury
found her to be guilty of attempting to murder her baby son. The
court had heard evidence from Professor John Stephenson, a world
expert on infant neurology.

Professor Stephenson related how on 15 occasions at Yorkhill
Hospital, Glasgow, the baby boy had to be revived and how on nine
occasions he was convinced the mother had deliberately suffocated
her child.

According to Professor Stephenson and other medical witnesses,
the child only suffered from these attacks when in the sole
presence of the mother. Lord Wheatley called for background reports
deferring sentence for one month.

Source:- The Scotsman Friday 20 July page 9

The strategy against drug addiction

In a series of features The Scotsman examines ways to
fight the high levels of drug addiction in Scotland, where 300
people die of drug abuse each year, three times the rate of the
Netherlands. The feature concludes that social work, the voluntary
sector, health and the police need to work together.

Source:- The Scotsman Friday 20 July page 10






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