Friday 14 November 2003

By David Callaghan, Clare Jerrom and Alex

Minister’s future remains in doubt
Children’s minister Margaret Hodge was hanging on to her job last
night after prime minister Tony Blair threw her a lifeline.
Blair appeared alongside Hodge at a summit for the five largest
children’s charities at Downing Street. She is under pressure after
calling a government adviser “an extremely disturbed individual”.
He said his claims of being abused in a children’s home were
ignored by Islington Council while she was leader.
She wrote a letter to the BBC to complain about its plans to
investigate the case of Demetrious Panton, who is an adviser on the
New Deal for Communities plan, in which she made the claim about
Panton’s sanity. The BBC then used the contents of the letter in an
item on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ Programme.
Source:- Financial Times Friday 14 November page 3
I was delighted with ‘sensible’ Huntley, says college
vice-principal about his job interview

The vice-principal of of Soham Village College said she was
delighted with Ian Huntley after appointing him as caretaker. He
replaced someone who had been sacked for having an “inappropriate
relationship” with a 13-year-old girl.
Margaret Bryden said senior staff and governors had submitted all
the candidates for the job to thorough questioning. She said
Huntley, who used his mother’s maiden name of Nixon when applying
for the job, was enthusiastic.
Source:- The Independent Friday 14 November page 4
Working mothers ‘bad for children’
A new study suggests that the children of mothers who return to
work full-time after giving birth have slower emotional development
and score less well in tests.
The research by the Institute for Social and Economic Research
suggests the effects continue into later childhood and early
adulthood with lower educational attainment, higher risk of
unemployment and greater likelihood of childbearing earlier in
Source:- The Guardian Friday 14 November page 5
Scottish newspapers
Freedom plea by killer mother

A mother who killed her two babies and hid their bodies in a
cupboard has taken steps to prevent her conceiving again, a court
heard yesterday.
Susan MacLeod was charged last year with murdering three babies
over a four year period by suffocating them at birth. After
pleading guilty to the lesser charge of culpable homicide for two
of the children’s deaths, her plea of not guilty of murdering the
third baby was accepted by the crown. MacLeod was held in prison
for five weeks before being granted bail. Yesterday, as her case
continued for sentencing, the high court in Glasgow heard that she
had “taken steps” to make it impossible for her to commit a similar
offence again.
Source:- The Scotsman Friday 14 November
Exclusion laws to tackle soliciting
Prostitutes are to be removed from residential areas in Scotland
through the introduction of antisocial behaviour orders for the
first time. Vice girls working in the red light area in Leith,
Edinburgh, and their clients, will be targeted under the plan. The
decision was made despite warnings that the ASBOs will move the
problem to other areas of the city.
Source:- The Herald Friday 14 November
Case for care unit shouted down
Health officials’ plans to locate a secure unit for people with
mental health problems in Paisley was met with a barrage of
opposition last night.
Experts at the public meeting in Paisley town hall were accused of
a “stitch-up” over the selection of Dykebar Hospital as one of
three possible sites for the new secure centre. Almost 300 people
attended the meeting to raise concerns about the impact that the
£7 million 36-bed psychaitric unit would have on the
Source:- The Herald Friday 14 November
Welsh newspapers
‘Schools site safe’

Schools in south Wales that are to be rebuilt on a former chemical
tip will be safe, said builders. But Children’s Commissioner
for Wales, Peter Clarke said there is not enough scientific
evidence to justify building on ground that was contaminated with
chemicals, including arsenic and mercury.
The Welsh assembly have also called on planners in Newport to
consider the scheme very carefully before they give it the
Source:- South Wales Argus Thursday 13 November page 15
Puppets preacher’ jailed over child

A man who used puppets to illustrate bible stories to children has
been jailed for 12 months for sexual offences.
Dewi Lloyd Howell was found to have 100 images of child pornography
on his computer, and police also found other pornographic
Howell had been a well-respected member of the Presbyterian Church
and his work often brought him into contact with children.
Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 13 November page 2
‘Resign Now’
Health and social services minister is under pressure to resign
over a crisis in children’s services in Cardiff.
Children’s Commissioner Peter Clarke is being asked to look
at services for vulnerable children in the nations capital after a
damming report revealed that children were still not being properly
cared for.
Hutt has refused to use her powers to force changes at the council,
but has invoked a protocol setting out how improvements can be
Conservative assembly member Jonathan Morgan has called upon Hutt
to resign because of the crisis.
Source:- South Wales Echo Thursday 13 November page 4
‘Dangerous’ paedophile freed to wander

A man described as a dangerous paedophile by a judge has been freed
to wander unsupervised.
Kenneth Ward faces a custodial sentence for sexual assaults on
three toddlers and is being assessed by psychiatrists in a
specialised unit in Peterborough.
But on Wednesday he was put on a train alone to travel to Swansea
for sentencing, although a high court judge had previously ordered
that a prison officer should accompany Ward on journeys.
Michelle Elliot, director of the children’s charity Kidscape,
said that the decision to allow him to travel alone was the height
of stupidity.
Source:- Western Mail Friday 14 November page 5

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