A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom.

I failed Victoria, says doctor who identified physical

A consultant paediatrician has admitted failing eight-year-old
Victoria Climbie.

Mary Rossiter of North Middlesex Hospital told the inquiry into
her death that Victoria was admitted with marks on her body in the
summer of 1999.

But after two weeks Dr Rossiter gave the go-ahead for the
child’s discharge which led to her being returned to Marie
Therese Kouao and Carl Manning. This was despite the doctor’s
certainty that the girl was suffering physical abuse and

Rossiter said she expected social services and the police to
follow the case with an assessment of Victoria.

She said: “I failed to realise the inadequacy of the
documentation. I failed to realise that what seemed very obvious to
us in the hospital as a clear-cut case of child abuse had not been
comprehended by my colleagues in social services.”

Victoria died at the hands of her great aunt Kouao and her
boyfriend Manning after months of neglect where she was forced to
sleep in a bath and starved.

In the months leading up to her death she was bought to the
attention of three local authorities, the police and the NHS.

Yesterday Lord Laming, who heads the inquiry said Haringey,
which closed its file on the girl on the day she died, unaware she
had been killed, had sent him a letter asking him to “redress the
balance of the proceedings”.

The letter from the council’s solicitor said there was an
unevenness in the way the inquiry had treated social workers and
NHS staff.

Laming said: “I made it clear at the outset that this inquiry
would be conducted in an open and transparent manner.”

Kouao and Manning were sentenced to life imprisonment for
Victoria’s murder.

The hearing continues.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 13 October page 15

School backs head who fell for his foster

A headmaster has left his wife and children to set up home with
a troubled teenager he took in as a foster daughter.

Malcolm Hayes, who is 38, will not be prosecuted for his affair
with Rhoxan Kenward. He has been allowed to return from suspension
and continue in his £35,000-a-year post as head of Horsmonden
County Primary School in Kent.

Rhoxan was 16 and no longer officially a foster child when a
complaint was made about Hayes’ unsuitable behaviour, which
meant police were unable to press charges.

Last night Rhoxan’s sister Zoey accused social services
and police of failing to protect a ‘vulnerable’ child
who had been ‘brainwashed’ by Hayes.

Rhoxan was brought up in Hastings with her sister by her mother
Diane. But family difficulties including violence from some of
Diane’s boyfriends led Rhoxan to struggle at school and she
was expelled for bad behaviour.

In June last year social services decided that she would benefit
from living with foster parents, as at the time, she was living
between a Barnardo’s residential home in Hastings and her
mother’s home.

Hayes and his wife Paula had council vetting for fostering and
became Rhoxan’s foster parents in May 2000 when she was

Last Christmas, Mrs Hayes told social services she was concerned
about the relationship and wanted Rhoxan to return home to her
mother. Hayes was suspended from school while allegations were

Rhoxan insists there was no sexual intercourse while she was
under his foster care.

Detective Sergeant Brian Reed, of the Battle child protection
unit, said: “He is certainly not what we classed as a paedophile or
a risk to children or anything of that nature. There was no
criminal offences that we could find.”

Source:- Daily Mail Tuesday 13 November page 23

Foster children at risk

An adoption agency has criticised the government for failing
children in care.

The British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering warned that up
to 10,000 privately fostered children in Britain were being failed
by the law.

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 13 November page 13

Shipman’s wife must face public

The wife of jailed doctor Harold Shipman will speak publicly for
the first time about his murderous career.

Primrose Shipman married the doctor for 35 years and has been
summoned to give evidence at the tribunal of inquiry investigating
his crimes.

She pleaded not to have to appear in person, but Dame Janet
Smith ruled she would have the same treatment as other

She will attend the hearing on Friday at Manchester town

Source:- Daily Mail Tuesday 13 November page 31

Scottish news

Time runs out for delayed escape

Child abusers and rapists will no longer escape prosecution
because of delays in getting their cases to court.

A ruling from Lord Reed means the accused could face a reduced
sentence or receive compensation if his case is delayed, but he is
unlikely to walk free from court. Victims groups were incensed
after a string of cases were thrown out of court following lengthy

In February last year, a suspected paedophile walked free after
judges ruled that the case against him broke European human rights
legislation enshrined in Scots law.

But Ken Dale-Risk, lecturer in human rights law at the Napier
University in Edinburgh, said the ruling would restore the public
faith in Scotland’s justice system, and should prevent people
from walking away from crimes without punishment.

Source:- The Scotsman Tuesday 13 November





More from Community Care

Comments are closed.