A daily summary of social care stories from the main newspapers

Including headlines from Saturday and

By Clare Jerrom, Reg McKay and Alex Dobson.

Young murderers who show regret to be freed

The lord chief justice defended his decision to cut the minimum
jail terms of 48 children who have murdered or killed people, out
of the 79 cases he has reviewed.

Lord Woolf made his statement after reducing the minimum number
of years to be served by two teenage murderers in the court of

But Woolf said he only reduces the minimum term of young killers
and murderers if there had been a change in their behaviour while
in prison. Offenders also have to demonstrate regret about their
crimes and concern for their victim.

Woolf said he appreciated that families of victims found news of
the review “extremely distressing”.

Source:- The Times Saturday 27 July page 6

Child case woman remanded

The mother of a toddler found dead in a rock pool on a Welsh
beach was charged with his murder yesterday.

Mirlene Priscilla Stewart from Birmingham was remanded in
custody having appeared before Carmarthen magistrates. The child
was identified as Jordan Reid.

The child was found dead on a beach at Saundersfoot, west Wales,
last week by walkers.

Source:- The Times Saturday 27 July page 4

Boy sentenced

A 12-year-old boy, accused of taking part in the “execution” of
a man he claimed had indecently assaulted him has been sentenced to
a 12-month detention and training order. Phillip Barrowcliffe was
given the order for assault.

His 16-year-old brother, Gavin Clarke, was sentenced to five
years detention for manslaughter.

Source:- The Times Saturday 27 July page 4

Donor children ‘should be able to find

Children born as a result of donated sperm should be able to
trace their biological fathers, according to Britain’s
fertility watchdog yesterday.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority called for the
removal of laws protecting the anonymity of all future sperm and
egg donors, and acknowledged the “fundamental right of donor
offspring to have knowledge of their genetic origins”.

The authority’s comments will add enormous weight to
already mounting pressure on the government to give more rights to
donor offspring.

Source:- The Times Saturday 27 July page 10

Girl, 15, died after five ecstasy tablets

A teenage girl died after taking five ecstasy tablets, an
inquest heard yesterday.

Tammy Pooley, aged 15, took the drugs at a flat in Hull last
October, Hull and East Riding coroner, Geoffrey Saul was told.
Psychotherapist Nadine Littledale said the teenager took the drugs
to suppress the emotional pain she felt.

The girl was living at a care home in the city at the time of
her death, which she had a history of children absconding.

Two men were arrested in connection with supplying the girl with
tablets, but they denied the offence, and no charges were brought
by Humberside police.

Saul recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Source:- The Independent Saturday 27 July page

Blunkett faces challenge on ‘brutal’ child

High court action tomorrow will claim that the government
locking up 3,000 teenagers is brutal, inhumane and illegal.

The application for judicial review, by penal reform charity the
Howard League, is backed by six children’s groups, and the
former chief inspector of prisons, Sir David Ramsbotham.

Lawyers will claim home secretary David Blunkett has failed to
adequately protect vulnerable young people in young
offenders’ institutions.

Ramsbotham is expected to say the treatment of children in
prisons is substandard.

Source:- The Sunday Times Sunday 28 July page 2

Asylum seekers may get private care

Asylum seekers in detention centres may be able to access
private healthcare.

The home office is considering contracting out the provision of
heath facilities at the sites in Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire
and Oxfordshire, according to a written answer in the House of

The government fears GP surgeries and hospitals may not be able
to cope with the influx of people.

Source:- The Sunday Times 28 July page 22

12-year-old faces sex charge

A 12-year-old boy has been charged with the attempted rape of an
11-year-old girl behind a shopping complex, according to police

The victim was allegedly attacked at the rear of a video store
in Kenton, Newcastle, detectives said. The attack is said to have
been witnessed by a nine-year-old girl.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 28 July page 5

Teens to be freed as jails overflow

Thousands of teenage crime suspects awaiting trial should be
released into the community in a bid to ease the overcrowding in
prisons, the government’s youth tsar says.

Under-18s at risk of re-offending would be sent to privately run
secure hostels whose operators have tagging equipment, under the
plans being drawn up by the Youth Justice Board.

Inmates would be freed to leave during the day, but be subject
to an 8.30pm curfew. Children would be able to continue in their
education at schools.

YJB chairman Lord Warner warned ministers that the number of
children in custody could not be tolerated and radical measures
needed to be taken.

Last month there were 3,100 young people in custody – an
increase of 13 per cent since January.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 28 July page 12

Privately funded bodies to take over child welfare from
town halls

Child protection is to be contracted out to privately funded
agencies as part of a radical shake up in childcare. The move
follows the death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie whose case
exposed shortcomings in council-run services.

New “children’s trusts” will be set up to oversee
childcare and will include responsibilities related to exclusions
from school, special educational requirements, children on the “at
risk” register and health care.

Local control will be handed from the government to “public
interest companies” – independent bodies with the power to
raise private finance.

They will run services currently under the control of council
agencies, which have been under fire since Victoria’s

Ministers have decided to act before Lord Laming reports on the
case to the government.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 28 July page 1

Protest against new Bill

Thousands of people are to protest in a mass demonstration
against government plans to imprison people with mental health
problems without charge.

Psychiatrists, nurses and mental health campaigners will join
the march on September 14 in Whitehall Place in London and also
hold a rally at Geraldine Mary Harmsworth park, the site of the
original Bedlam psychiatric hospital.

The protest aims to focus public attention on the issue.

Source:- Independent on Sunday 28 July page 6

Suicidal boy ‘was killed by

The Children Act should apply in prison, according to Helen
Reddings, whose son Anthony committed suicide while he was serving
a four month-sentence at Brinsford young offenders’
institution in Staffordshire. Reddings claims the system killed her

Anthony from Coventry was found after he hanged himself in the
single cell at the institution’s healthcare wing in February
last year. He had arrived at Brinsford three weeks earlier on a
detention training order for motoring offences.

An inquest at Stafford crown court found he had tied a ligature
around his neck on four occasions before he hanged himself.

Redding said last night she felt “deeply let down” by the
prison’s attitude and had been so disgusted with the verdict
of accidental death that she and her family had walked out of the

“The verdict should have been accidental death aggravated by
neglect,” she said. “He wasn’t being seen every few minutes
like the prison said. I don’t think the authorities saw my
son as a human being, just as someone they could lock up and throw
away the key.”

Source:- The Times Monday 29 July page 6

Fear for girl bundled into van

A man seen bundling a girl who was kicking and screaming into
the back of his van near a children’s playground, is being
hunted by detectives.

The girl aged seven or eight was seen crying as the man forced
her into the vehicle at Banbury, Oxfordshire on Saturday. A group
of children alerted the police.

The man was described as swarthy and pushed the fair-haired girl
into the back of a Transit type van. The children said they did not
recognise the child.

Source:- The Times Monday 29 July page 8

Denial on care

The home office has denied claims that asylum seekers are to be
given free private healthcare.

Reports that immigrants in new holding centres would get private
treatment were based on mis-interpretation of a minister’s
words, it added.

Three centres are planned at disused military bases.

Source:- The Times Monday 29 July page 8

Why Bulger killers ‘need

The murderers of James Bulger “developed while they were in
custody”, and should now have their lives protected once back in
society, according to the lord chief justice.

Lord Woolf also said that we should “cling vigorously” to trial
by jury in criminal cases.

Referring to the youths who killed two-year-old James Bulger in
1993, Woolf says that although Jon Venables and Robert Thompson
committed very grave crimes, people should not forget that they
were human beings, particularly children.

“Children can do things when they are children, which they would
never do in their later life,” he said.

Explaining in a Radio 4 interview with Sue MacGregor to be
broadcast on Wednesday, why he thought the courts had been right to
grant anonymity in the face of threats to their lives, Woolf says:
“It would not bring baby Bulger back to life if one or other of
those young men had in turn been killed.”

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 29 July page 1

Disability watchdog angry as legislation is

The disability watchdog is angered by the government’s
plans to shelve legislation that would ban discrimination against
the disabled.

The Disability Rights Commission will accuse ministers of
“betrayal” today after it emerged that tougher measures would not
be in this year’s Queen’s Speech.

Labour’s manifesto at the 2001 general election promised
to extend basic rights for the disabled, and campaigners were told
last year that legislation would be introduced to outlaw

But the department for work and pensions has privately confirmed
that it is unlikely that a Bill will be brought forward in the next
parliamentary session.

Source:- The Independent Monday 29 July page

Teachers will condemn ban on migrant

David Blunkett’s plans to prevent asylum seekers’
children from attending state schools will be condemned by teachers
at the Professional Association of Teachers’ conference which
begins this week.

Under the Asylum Bill, children of asylum seekers are to be
educated in new “accommodation centres”.

But after more than 30 Labour MPs threatened rebellion over the
proposals, Blunkett conceded amendments, to be tabled after the
summer recess, that would ensure that all children are assessed
after six months in the centres.

But despite this concession, teachers are expected to give their
overwhelming support to a motion condemning the government’s
attitude to ethnic minority and refugee pupils.

Source:- The Independent Monday 29 July page

Paedophiles predicted to turn to child

Paedophiles are likely to begin smuggling children into Britain
for abuse as part of a new trade in ‘people trafficking’, Scotland
Yard warned.

It believes that “predatory paedophiles” may increasingly use a
method of abuse called “reverse child sex tourism” to evade tighter
controls for sex offenders travelling abroad.

Senior vice officers say children from countries such as the
Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka could be smuggled into the UK.

Source:- The Independent Monday 29 July page

Is justice for my son too much to ask?

Almost two years have passed since the murder of Damilola
Taylor. Yet still his killers roam free. Here in a remarkably brave
and honest interview, his father reveals how the tragedy almost
destroyed his marriage… and how he still has not told his own
mother that her beloved grandson is dead.

Source:- Daily Mail Monday 29 July page 24-25

Scottish newspapers

Law lords free elderly care from assets

A landmark House of Lords ruling may protect family assets from
being used to pay for the care of older people, and radically
change the funding base for such services.

The ruling concerned Mary Robertson who passed her home on to
her adult sons three years before she moved in to residential care.
The lords decided that her assets could not be taken into account
in calculating her contribution to the costs of services, contrary
to the current practice in most UK local authorities.

Fife council said that the judgement would have to be studied
carefully, but was likely to have far-reaching implications for the
funding of services.

Source:- The Herald Saturday 27 July page 1

Convicted murderer sole backer of executive’s

The sole backer for the Scottish executive’s plans to
close Peterhead Prison under a public consultation, and open three
new private prisons has been revealed to be Uisdean MacKay,
currently serving a prison sentence in Shotts Prison for shooting
dead his lover in 1993.

MacKay claimed in his written submission that the general
feeling of prisoners in Shotts was wholeheartedly in support of
privately-run prisons. Over 120 groups and individuals responded to
the executive’s proposals on the future of prisons.

Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 27 July page 1

Private prison’s £700,000

The Scottish executive has subsidised Scotland’s only
private prison to the tune of £700,000 over the past two
years, it has been revealed.

The money consists of £413,689 in non-domestic rates and
£277,000 for three posts to run the Scottish Prison
Service’s controller’s office at the prison.

The funding, which is the equivalent of three quarters of the
prison’s profit over the same period, has added further fuel
to the public controversy over the executive’s plans to
develop three more private prisons.

Source:- Sunday Herald Sunday 28 July page 1

Glasgow a target for child sex slave

Children from Eastern Europe, China and Africa are being
smuggled into Glasgow in increasing numbers to be sold into the sex
slave market, a report has revealed.

Ecpat, an umbrella organisation for groups fighting child
slavery and prostitution, believes organised crime networks have
now spread beyond London, and are increasingly targeting

The Scottish executive is now so concerned about the spread of
people trafficking that it intends to introduce new legislation to
tackle the gangs behind the trade.

Source:- The Herald Monday 29 July page 1

Welsh newspapers

Teenage Conman Tricks Hospital

A teenager posing as a probation officer saw confidential
patient files and was involved in patient care, after tricking
hospital staff.

Thomas Mallon, aged 18, managed to fool doctors, nurses, social
workers and hospital bosses at a psychiatric hospital in Cardiff
into believing that he was a probation officer based at a youth
offending centre.

Mallon even gave a woman consultant a lecture on the treatment
given to Tomos Watson, a 20-year-old with learning difficulties. He
then arranged a six-week summer holiday for Tomos, but his cover
was blown when he failed to turn up to collect him.

Hospital staff later discovered that Mallon is a former young
offender, who is currently under an 18-month supervision order.

The parents of Tomos Watson, who has a mental age of six, said
they were very angry over the lack of security at the hospital. A
spokesperson for Whitchurch hospital said that they had apologised
to the patient and his family and had introduced stricter
guidelines that would confirm the identity of visiting
professionals before they were allowed on the wards.

Source:- Welsh Mirror Monday 29 July page 7







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