Inquiry into death of baby after murder conviction

A social work inquiry will be held into the handling of the case
of a baby murdered by her mother and her partner,
writes Nicola Barry.

Carla-Nicole Bone, who was four months-old, died in May this
year after suffering a catalogue of abuse at the hands of Sandy
McClure, who was convicted of her murder last week.

Nicole’s mother, Andrea Bone, was found guilty of culpable
homicide at the high court in Stonehaven after facing the unusual
charge of murder by failing to protect her daughter.

After the verdicts were delivered on Friday, social workers
remained adamant they had found “no evidence” that McClure posed a
serious risk to his partner’s child.

Aberdeen council said it had responded to two allegations of
neglect, one just a month before Nicole died, but concluded there
was no need for “formal protection procedures”.

The social work inquiry pledge came after Liz Berry, Nicole’s
grandmother, claimed the youngster would still be alive had social
workers heeded warnings she was in danger.

She said: “I phoned social services because I was worried about
Sandy McClure’s behaviour, and they did nothing.

“I phoned six, seven times and they did nothing. I blame them.
Why didn’t they see the bruises? Why weren’t they
concerned about the squalor the baby was living in?”

Social workers did visit the family but decided that, although
the couple needed “advice and help” in caring for the child, the
overall standard of care was “adequate”.

A council spokesperson said: “There are hundreds of families in
Aberdeenshire, whose parents are struggling a bit. There’s
always a fine balance to be struck between whether the mother is
doing well enough or whether we need to come in with a child
protection plan.”

Even though Carla-Nicole was not one of the 289 children on the
child protection register, health visitors and social workers
regularly got together to discuss her progress,” he said.

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