Woman charged after attack on witness at Climbie inquiry

A woman accused of throwing black paint over a senior police
witness at the Victoria Climbie inquiry has been charged with three
offences, writes Clare Jerrom and Sally

Lauretta Okocha, aged 32, of Stockwell south London, was charged
with assault, criminal damage and possession. She will appear at
Tower Bridge magistrates court on 15 January.

Detective chief inspector Phillip Wheeler was taken to hospital
where his eyes were irrigated. He also had some of his hair cut
because the paint could not be washed out.

He was unable to give evidence to the inquiry today (Friday)
following the attack on him yesterday (Thursday).

Lord Laming, chairperson of the inquiry, said: “I am pleased to
report that in relation to the incident yesterday afternoon a
person has been charged with a number of criminal offences. Clearly
I must now allow the law to take its course.”

Detective superintendent Sue Akers, whoWheeler reported to in
the police command structure for child protection issues, gave
evidence to the inquiry on Friday.

Akers said that although she had confidence in Wheeler and
retained this confidence throughout 1999, she was disappointed to
discover that he did not visit the child protection teams as much
as she believed.

She also admitted she did not realise how badly the Haringey
child protection team was performing.

Akers said if she had had the freedom to devote exclusive
attention to duties she regarded as important, she would have
visited and worked with the CPTs at their locations, established
stronger links with social services and area child protection

She felt the police did not protect a vulnerable child in this
instance because of “a grave error of judgement made by the
investigating officer, lack of clarity around supervision”.



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