A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom and Reg McKay.

Woman’s £½m for murder nightmare that
will never end

Mental health campaigners last night applauded the record payout
of £500,000 to a woman who witnessed her mentally ill brother
murder her mother.

They claim it was a clear message to health authorities to
improve their service to psychiatric patients.

Christina Kopernik-Steckel saw her brother Gilbert stab their
mother to death at their home in south-London. He then committed

He had suffered a mental breakdown and been diagnosed by the
South London Maudsley Trust as a danger to himself and others. Even
though he was twice admitted to hospital in the days leading up to
the killing, he was allowed to leave twice.

Ms Kopernk-Steckel took legal action in 1998 and the South
London Maudsley NHS Trust has admitted liability for her
psychiatric injury.

Source:- Daily Mail Tuesday 6 November page 19

Four in ten surfers ‘lured’ to porn

Four in 10 internet users stumble accidentally across
pornographic material, according to the Consumer’s

Surveyed parents said they were shocked by the material they
found, often while their children were sitting with them.

Many porn sites use familiar names to lure people into opening
pornographic sites.

The association’s magazine Which? Computing said an
innocent search for subjects such as pop bands and toys can throw
up inappropriate material.

Of more than 7,000 internet users questioned, 42 per cent said
they had inadvertently come across a pornographic website.

Source:- Daily Mail Tuesday 6 November page 19

Immigrants wave to police and cheer as they reach

Afghan illegal immigrants cheered to British police yesterday as
they realised they had successfully smuggled themselves through the

They had stowed aboard a freight train and made no attempt to
escape when they were spotted at a depot in Kent.

A British transport police officer said: “It’s quite
unbelievable. The refugees waved at us as they came into the depot.
They think it’s great because they know they have made it and
will be looked after.”

More than 20 Afghans were arrested yesterday. They had risked
their lives jumping on to the freight train as it left the freight
yard near Calais.

Source:- Daily Mail Tuesday 6 November page 32

CSA sends seduced boy a £55,000 bill

A man faces a £55,000 maintenance bill for a child he
fathered unknowingly when he was 15, after being seduced by a woman
twice his age.

John Walker, who claims he knew nothing of his child until he
received a letter from the Child Support Agency, is now liable for
payments until his son finishes full time education.

The plumber said yesterday he was outraged to be pursued for
child maintenance when the child’s mother broke the law by
having sex with him when he was a minor.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 6 November page 3

Bullying ‘at heart of British

Cherie Booth urged parents, schools and communities to take a
more holistic approach to stamping bullying out yesterday as she
said bullying was at the heart of British culture.

Speaking at a conference organised by the charity, Childline,
the prime minister’s wife said she was aware of the
devastating effect it had on children and families.

“Bullying doesn’t stop at the school gates, it goes on
after school and it goes on into university. It goes on into work
and it even goes on into family. It is a real issue at the heart of
our culture,” she said.

She continued that it was important to draw on the extensive
research and good practice on the subject, but that it needed to be
managed in a holistic manner.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 6 November page 3

Life jail for sex killer who was thought safe by
probation staff

The probation and prison services were criticised severely by a
judge yesterday for being duped into thinking a sex offender posed
no risk to the public.

Paul Beart is now starting a life sentence for a savage sexual
attack on Deborah O’Sullivan who was mutilated.

Mrs Justice Hallett told Bristol crown court that she was
astonished Beart had “fooled” the experts who ran a sex offender
programme into thinking he had overcome his compulsion for violent

Beart pleaded guilty to murdering O’Sullivan as she walked
home along a footpath in Cornwall last April. He had previously
served five years for the serious indecent assault of a family

Source:- The Independent Tuesday 6 November
page 10

Scottish newspapers

Child abuse appeal abandoned

An appeal against a landmark legal ruling to return two young
children home from social care on the basis that they suffered from
rare temporary brittle-bone disease and were not abused by their
parents, has been withdrawn at the last minute by the Scottish
Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA).

The baby twins were taken into care by South Lanarkshire social
work department early in 1999 after allegations of systematic
abuse. The appeal was due to be heard at Airdrie sheriff court
yesterday with three weeks aside for the case.

But the SCRA advised the court that they were withdrawing the
appeal. Amid recriminations from the parents, who cannot be named
for legal reasons, that none of the care agencies had visited their
children since being returned home last July, a legal wrangle has
developed over responsibility for legal expenses.

Paul Reid, lawyer for the parents, claimed that the SCRA should
be forced to carry the legal costs which “was nothing as to the
anguish and fear my client has faced”. Since their return there
have been no reports of injuries being suffered by the twins. The
sheriff principal will give his decision on who pays for legal
expenses at a later date.

Source:- The Herald Tuesday 6 November page 6

Children’s charities hit out at lack of smacking

Westminster’s refusal to introduce a smacking ban on
children under three years as proposed in Scotland will create
confusion among parents throughout the UK, according to leading
children’s charities.

The Scottish proposals will mean parents could face prosecution
for hitting any child with an implement or smacking any child
younger than three years. A consortium of children’s
charities from the UK, Children Are Unbeatable, says
Westminster’s refusal to change the law will make further
progress in protecting children unlikely. Susan Elseley, assistant
director for Save the Children (Scotland), said: “We want the law
to act as a guide for what is appropriate. That is not going to
happen if parents in England and Scotland are getting mixed
messages about what are appropriate measures of chastisement.”

Source:- The Herald Tuesday 6 November page 6








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