A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

‘Murdered for a laugh’: the last moments of
Damilola Taylor

The Old Bailey was told yesterday that Damilola Taylor died in
an “act of gratuitous violence born of cruelty and bullying”.

Two brothers aged 16 identified as Boys A and B, a 17-year-old
named as Boy C and Boy D age 14 went on trial yesterday for the
stabbing of the schoolboy.

Mark Dennis for the prosecution told the jury that Damilola was
confronted by a gang of youths as he walked home around 4.30pm.

He said the boys probably were part of a larger gang, and
loitered for a vulnerable witness to rob. Damilola proved an
irresistible target for four of the boys.

He continued that as the schoolboy was unlikely to have been
carrying anything valuable: “It may well be for that reason
Damilola was not simply left to go on his way, and events escalated
to a higher level of aggression and violence.”

Dennis said one of the boys got a discarded beer bottle from a
nearby rubbish area, and Damilola was stabbed in the left thigh,
which severed a major artery and vein in the leg causing profuse

Dennis added that Damilola staggered 30 yards to the stairwell
of a block of flats where he collapsed and fell into semi

He said the attack was witnessed by a 13-year-old girl, who
allegedly knew three of the attackers.

During early 2001, the first three defendants spent time at
Feltham young offenders institution on remand for unrelated

They allegedly spoke to one another about Damilola and admitted
attacking him for his silver jacket and trainers.

One youth in Feltham was told “it had been done for a

Source:- The Times Thursday 31 January page 6

Mobile phone thief is jailed for four years

The day after the Lord Chief Justice urged judges to crack down
on mobile phone thieves, a man who stole a mobile was jailed for
four years yesterday.

Judge Valerie Pearlman described Dean Healey’s offence as
a “bad case of gratuitous street violence”.

Lord Wolfe issued guidelines on Tuesday saying that a minimum
term for a mobile thief should be 18 months, and five years if a
weapon or violence was used.

Sitting at the Old Bailey Judge Pearlman said: “The sentence I
pass is to keep the public protected from you and as a deterrent to
show this type of offence will not be tolerated.”

Healey of Streatham, south London, was convicted last month of
robbing Lee Staples, who was 16 at the time of the attack in
February last year.

Source:- The Times Thursday 31 January page 7

Climbie’s killer in apology to

The man who killed Victoria Climbie along with his girlfriend,
apologised to the parents of the eight-year-old girl in evidence
shown at a public inquiry yesterday.

Carl Manning admitted that his treatment and murder of Victoria
was “sickening”, and said that no-one was to blame, but himself for
the torment the eight-year-old suffered.

The video link to the inquiry was screened to Victoria’s
parents and the public yesterday.

Manning apologised to the girl’s family and said: “I mean,
my behaviour and actions are totally unacceptable. I just have to
accept my wrongs and my actions and all that has happened was

Manning and Marie-Therese Kouao were jailed for life last year
for Victoria’s abuse and murder.

Source:- The Times Thursday 31 January page 12

Children suffer mental fallout from decline of nuclear

Families headed by two parents have fallen to below 75 per cent
for the first time, and children are bearing the brunt.

Two parents families made up 92 per cent of households in 1971,
and this has fallen to 74 per cent in 2001, according to the Office
for National Statistics.

Children in lone parent families are twice as likely to live in
poverty as the population at large, and rates of mental disorder
among children living in lone parent families and step families are
double those among children living with both parents.

The report claims the change in the past 15 years is down to
mothers who do not marry as opposed to marriage breakdown.

Source:- The Times Thursday 31 January page 12

Immigration will push UK population rise to

Three quarters of the population increase in Britain over the
next 10 years will be down to immigration, according to latest
official projections released in a social trends report today.

The figures suggest the population will rise gradually from
around 60 million people now to 65 million within 25 years.

In the first 10 years of this century immigration will account
for 70 per cent of the population growth.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 31 January page 8

Drinking, smoking and drug use show startling rise among

Alcohol consumption among teenage boys has risen almost
threefold in the past 10 years, with 50 per cent indulging
regularly by the age of 15, a study reveals today.

Not only are youngsters drinking, smoking and taking drugs more,
an increasing number are obese, according to the social trends

Boys aged 11 to 13 are consuming four pints of beer a week which
is 8.4 units compared with 3 units in the early 1990s.

“Young people have a lot more money than they had previously, so
a lot more to spend on drink,” said a spokesperson for Alcohol

Drug use has also increased with the number of school children,
who used illegal drugs rising from 11 per cent in 1998 to 14 per
cent in 2000.

Source:- The Independent Thursday 31 January
page 5

Scottish newspapers

No place to hide

A full length feature on a family of asylum seekers living in
Sighthill, Glasgow. An investigation of the dangers they faced
before fleeing to Scotland and the pressures on them now as they
face deportation.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 31 January

Children failed in sex abuse scandal

Children in care were failed by social work staff and poor
procedures according to Fife council’s own report into one of
the biggest sex abuse scandals in Scotland.

The council commissioned the independent report following the
conviction of former care worker David Murphy for abusing 18 boys
at St Margaret’s Children’s Home in Elie and Linwood
Hall School in Leven between 1960 and 1985.

The report recommends the introduction of a whistleblowing
policy, that every allegation by any child in care be fully
investigated, and tougher background checks on residential

Source:- The Herald Thursday 31 January page 8

Welsh newspapers
No Hope Service

Waiting lists for a first appointment have risen in Wales for the
ninth month in succession. The figures for those waiting for a
hospital appointment now stand at a huge 210,816 – a new record for
the NHS.
The extent of the problem was revealed in official figures from
Jane Hutt, minister for health and social services in the Welsh
Assembly. Hospitals in the Principality also report increases in
the numbers of patients waiting to be admitted for operations, with
69,514 people waiting for treatment.
Source:- South Wales Echo Wednesday 30 January page
Counselling service faces closure threat
A charity that provides counselling in one of the most deprived
areas of Cardiff faces closure because of financial problems.
The charity, Cardiff Counselling and Support, provides a free and
confidential service to families and individuals in times of
personal crisis. The organisation has been funded by the National
Lottery and local businesses, but the three year lottery grant has
now expired and is not expected to be re-instated.
Manager Deborah Rowe said that the situation was now desperate, and
that the charity could only keep going for another three weeks
unless additional funds were found.
Source:- South Wales Echo Wednesday 30 January page
Baby Oliver caller was a hoaxer say police
A call from a woman claiming to be the mother of an abandoned
three-month-old boy was a hoax, say police.
The baby, who has been called Oliver by police who found him, was
abandoned 11 days ago in Newport, South Wales. The hoax caller told
the police that the baby was called Michael and that she was his
mother. There were concerns that she might have been the victim of
domestic violence, but after tracing the caller police say that she
has now been eliminated from their enquiries.
The focus of the investigation is now on tracing the birth records
of hundreds of boys born in the Newport area between August 1 and
October 31 last year.
Source:- Western Mail Thursday 31 January page 7







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