Monday 23 September 2002

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

Couple jailed for starving tortured daughter to

An investigation into how a social services department failed to
protect Ainlee Walker from abuse began yesterday after the
child’s parents were jailed for starving and torturing the
two-year-old to death.

Leanne Labonte and Dennis Henry were convicted of manslaughter
and child cruelty at the Old Bailey, nine months after
Ainlee’s body was found with 64 injuries.

Labonte was sentenced for 10 years and Henry to 12 after the
jury found them guilty of what doctors described as “the grossest
of gross neglect”.

Newham social services in east London, where the couple lived,
admitted that it made mistakes and has set up a multi-agency
independent inquiry which will report in November.

Source:- The Times Saturday 21 September page 7

Deportee ‘stunt’ under attack by rights

A group of illegal immigrants was deported yesterday while being
filmed by television cameras in a bid by ministers to persuade the
public that the asylum policy is working.

Human rights groups branded the stunt, which saw 48 men, women
and children from the Czech Republic boarding a chartered aircraft
at Stansted airport “appalling”.

Liberal Democrats home affairs spokesperson Simon Hughes said:
“It is verging on the obscene for the home office to stage photo
opportunities as we send back from Britain those asylum seekers
whose applications for asylum have not succeeded.”

Source:- The Times Saturday 21 September page 14

Divorced father fight for share of child

A man who shares the care of his son equally with his ex-wife
won the right yesterday to mount a legal challenge to the rules
denying him a share of child benefit.

Benefit rules discriminate against fathers, according to Kevin
Barber. He claims the rules treat him like an “absentee” father
even though he looks after his 11-year-old son, Gareth, for half
the week.

All the child benefit payment goes to Gareth’s mother,
Karen, and the department for work and pensions has refused to
split it between the parents.

Barber’s lawyers claim the rules violate his right to
respect for his home and private life and to freedom from
discrimination under the European convention on human rights.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 21 September page 6

Prisoner found hanged in cell

A prisoner on remand was found hanging in his cell at Bedford
prison yesterday.

Gary Horth from Peterborough had been charged with supplying

Staff and paramedics failed to resuscitate him.

Source:- The Guardian Saturday 21 September page 13

Council unions accept two-year 7.7% pay

Three public sector unions accepted a 7.7 per cent pay rise over
two years yesterday, avoiding a repetition of the winter of
discontent of 1979.

Unison, the GMB and TGWU had threatened disruption to services
if no agreement had been reached.

But the threat of strikes remains because, despite the
agreement, there could be more disputes if councils press ahead
with the privatisation of more services.

Local government employers admitted that more work may have to
be “outsource” to pay for the deal, which will also see a rise of
10.9 per cent for those on minimum wage rates.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 21 September page 8

Ecstasy death father in clear

The father of Jade Slack, Britain’s youngest ecstasy
victim, has been told that he will not face charges over his
daughter’s death.

Simon Slack, from Galgate, Lancashire, was arrested on suspicion
of being concerned in the supply of controlled substances. But
police have now confirmed that the case against him has been

Slack’s daughter, Jade, aged 10, died in July after
swallowing up to five tablets.

A 20-year-old man and two women aged 17 and 20, have been
arrested in connection with Jade’s death and are due to
answer police bail on Tuesday.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 21 September page

Police set to arrest 2,000 paedophiles

The largest police inquiry in Britain could result in up to
2,000 suspected paedophiles facing arrest.

Among the suspects are several magistrates and solicitors, civil
servants and councillors, 30 police officers, top business people
and a crown prosecutor.

Social workers and teachers in London are known to be among more
than 500 people under suspicion. A judge in Ireland is under

Teams of detectives in England, Wales and Scotland are now
preparing to make arrests over the next few months after finalising
shortlists of suspects.

Source:- The Sunday Times 22 September page 1

Granny tags to protect the elderly

Older people are to be tagged electronically in a bid to track
their movements and prevent them from wandering into harm’s

The plastic wrist tags, that are used on young criminals, will
set off an alarm if they wander outside a radius of up to 300 yards
or through the wrong doors.

Wardens will be able to identify zones within a care home where
each tagged resident is located using the wireless technology that
sends a digital signal from the tag to a central monitor.

The technology was developed by Dmatek a company that helps the
home office tag young offenders. The scheme could eventually be
used to monitor a person’s heartbeat and body

The pilot scheme is the firs of its kind in Britain and will be
launched at Martin House, a residential home in Southall, west

Source:- The Sunday Times 22 September page 12

Blair adviser on elderly quits after nursing home

The government adviser to Tony Blair and Alan Milburn on issues
concerning older people has been forced to step down from his post
as well as from the board of Help the Aged, following a report into
one of his former company’s nursing homes.

Labour party donor Chai Patel has agreed to stand down as the
health secretary’s adviser and has also resigned from the
board of Help the Aged because of an independent report exposing
neglect and treatment of 72 frail residents at Lynde House in
Twickenham, Middlesex.

A number of older people were found to have suffered physical
injuries, poor nursing care and a lack of basic hygiene.

The report dealt with allegations by relatives and residents
dating back to 1999. The home at the time was run by Westminster
Health Care, the company founded by Patel.

Earlier this year he sold his share of the company and he is now
chief executive of Priory Healthcare.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 22 September page 2

MPs back anonymity for child abuse suspects

People accused of sex offences including rape and child abuse
should be granted anonymity until they are convicted, according to
a House of Commons committee.

A report to be released later this year by the home affairs
select committee will say that the anonymity of victims of sex
offences should be extended to the accused.

It will also argue that the reputations of people are so damaged
by allegations which are later found to be disproved in court, that
special dispensation should be made for those involved.

The committee, chaired by Chris Mullin, came to its conclusions
following an investigation into child abuse in children’s
homes and the police method of trawling for information among
former residents, even if they have not approached the police with
specific allegations.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 22 September page 3

Killing fuels child agency debate

Ministers are considering setting up a statutory child
protection agency following the killing of Ainlee Walker.

Amid public outrage over how the emaciated two-year-old slipped
through the net of care, the government is examining whether a new
agency would be better quipped than social services teams to
prevent such a tragedy.

Downing Street’s policy unit and the department of health are
considering the idea as part of a wide ranging look at
children’s services.

But social services directors have warned that such a
re-organisation could cause more turmoil, and that taking the
responsibility out of council control would not necessarily ensure
better protection for vulnerable families.

Ainlee had been on the Newham social services file since her
birth in June 1999, but a year later, the case was closed against
the advice of health professionals. She was taken back into the
system five months before her death, but was not seen again.

Ainlee’s mother, Leanne Labonte, was jailed at the Old
Bailey last Friday and the child’s father Dennis Henry was
also jailed for 12 years.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 22 September page 13

Two babies were tortured to death – but no-one was
tried for murder

A two-page analysis looking at how police want the law changed
to remove the right to silence from parents who get away with
murder by pinning the blame on each other or colluding in a
fabricated story.

MPs are also calling for a shake up of the child protection
system. The couple were jailed for manslaughter after sustained
torture led to the death of the two-year-old girl.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 22 September page

First 50 ‘support police’ hit

The first 50 community support officers will begin patrolling
London today as part of the government’s drive to provide a
more visible official presence on the streets.

David Blunkett will announce that 27 of the 42 police forces in
England and Wales have decided to employ the new type of officer,
and that more than 1,000 will be introduced over the next few

The community support officers will be ale to issue fixed
penalty tickets for a range of anti social behaviour including
drunkenness, littering and graffiti, although they are not trained
police officers.

In the six pilot areas the new officers will also be able to
detain a suspect for 30 minutes until a sworn police officer

The detention powers will be tested for two years before it is
decided whether to roll the powers out nationally.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 23 September page 8

Police look at cardinal’s role in child abuse

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales is
being investigated by police into whether he covered up sex abuse
by a paedophile who was later jailed for offences against

The allegations are from the 1980s when Cardinal Cormac
Murphy-O’Connor was bishop of Brighton and Arundel. They
centre on the case of Father Michael Hill who was moved from his
parish and made chaplain at Gatwick airport following complaints
about his conduct.

He was later jailed for five years for abusing a boy with
learning difficulties who he met at the airport. He was released
last year.

The Catholic Church in other western countries have made
accusations of a cover-up.

A Sussex police spokesperson said that following a complaint by
a member of the public, the force and the crown prosecution service
were “looking into the issues raised”.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 23 September page 12

Call for child porn arrests

The government was urged to give police extra money to fund an
operation to arrest thousands of internet pornography suspects
yesterday by a group of children’s charities.

Fewer than 100 people on a list of 7,272 Britons subscribing to
a US- based paedophile website network have been arrested since the
information was supplied to UK police a year ago.

Detectives believe they have adequate evidence to arrest more
than 2,000, but have been hindered by a lack of resources.

The Children’s Charities Coalition for Internet Safety
said it was concerned that the inquiry should not suffer further

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 23 September page

Hughes calls for all violent criminals to be

The Liberal Democrats will today call for new policies tackling
violent behaviour, child pornographers and drug dealers.

Home affairs spokesperson Simon Hughes will demand at the
party’s conference in Brighton that violent criminals be
jailed automatically.

He will also propose that anyone who is found guilty of
“violence against the individual” should be sent to prison, but
that other offenders should be kept out of jail except as a last

Dangerous drivers, hard drug dealers and people found guilty of
peddling child pornography should face jail. Career criminals who
failed to respond to other forms of punishment should also be

Shoplifters, pick pockets and recreational drug users should be
offered “alternative sentences” such as community service or

Source:- The
Independent Monday 23 September
page 6

Scottish newspapers

City firms give street prostitutes red

Big business is pushing prostitutes out of a notorious section
of Glasgow’s red light district.

Prostitutes have been forced to leave the Anderson area of the
city after the police were inundated with complaints from companies
moving there as part of a multi-million pound redevelopment.

The sex workers say they have been corralled back into the heart
of the red light district and into dangerous unlit lanes. They have
told police they fear a repeat of the vicious attacks carried out
in the area in the 90s.

Source:- Scotland On Sunday September 22 page 16

Wallace rejects calls for more research into rape

The Scottish executive has dismissed calls for new research into
Scotland’s dismal conviction rate for rape and sexual

Jim Wallace, minister for justice, has enraged women’s
rights campaigners by ruling out an investigation into why only 10
per cent of all rapes reported to the police ever make it to

Source:- Scotland On Sunday September 22 page 9

Migrants crucial to future of Scotland

A drive to encourage more migrants to come to Scotland will
start this week with a campaign to challenge Scots’ racist
attitudes, and persuade people that the nation will need new
workers to offset its dwindling and ageing population.

Source:- The Sunday Herald September 22 page 9

Parents using informal means to control internet access
for young

Most parents have a relaxed attitude to their children’s
use of the internet and television, despite worries about sites
featuring paedophilia and the violent storylines of some soaps, a
new survey has found.

Source:- The Herald September 23 page 7

Welsh newspapers

Prison of death

Home office officials are investigating the eighth suicide in
five years at Parc Prison in Bridgend.

Sean Richings was found hanging in his cell at the prison in
south Wales on Friday. Prison staff tried to revive him, but he
died later in hospital with his family at his bedside.

Richings had been serving a 17-month sentence for perverting the
course of justice.

The suicide is the latest in a catalogue of controversies that
has dogged the prison, run by Securicor, since it opened in

Earlier this year a senior officer was suspended after allegedly
beating up a prisoner, and in another incident a prisoner was
handed a ‘joke’ note by a guard telling him a family
member was dead.

Last October, an investigation was launched after a 20-year-old
inmate was injured in an alleged attack by four other

Source:- Welsh Daily Mirror Monday 23 September page

Council ‘is putting staff before

A row has broken out over plans by Denbighshire council to build
a new civic centre for staff and councillors.

The cash-strapped council has been forced to minimise budgets
for vital services after inheriting a £7 million debt from one
of its predecessor authorities in 1996. But it has already built
two new council offices and is weeks away from signing another
contract for new civic offices in Ruthin, that will cost around
£14 million.

The offices will be paid for in instalments over the next 25
years, and some council tax payers are concerned that this will
reduce the amount of money available for social services, road
maintenance, education and other under-funded services.

The county also has some of the most dilapidated schools in the
whole of Wales, and Gethin Lewis, secretary of NUT Cymru, said he
was concerned that local authorities were building “palatial”
council accommodation before improving schools.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 23 September page 6

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