Manager admits handling of Huntley referrals was ‘totally inadequate’

A senior social services manager has described his department’s
handling of referrals about a 15-year-old girl’s relationship with
Ian Huntley as “totally inadequate in every sense”.

Martin Eaden, deputy director of child care at North East
Lincolnshire social services, told the Bichard Inquiry into how
Huntley got a job as a school caretaker that no action had been
taken concerning Huntley and the welfare of a girl named CD.

She was the second of four girls to come to the attention of the
department over a nine-month period between 1995 and 1996.

Huntley’s father had contacted social services in February 1996 to
inform them that CD was living with him and his son but he would be
going away to work in a few weeks and the girl would be left alone
with Huntley.

But the case was not allocated until 5 March. Two days later, the
day before Mr Huntley was due to leave, Ian Huntley contacted
social services to say that he did not want the responsibility for
the girl and there were “moral” concerns about her staying with

Senior child protection social worker Phil Watters, who also gave
evidence, admitted that he had not made the link between three
cases in which he was involved where Huntley was known to be having
a sexual relationship with under-age girls, despite the fact two of
them were dealt with just days apart.

Watters said: “I am surprised that it appears I did not make a link
because they happened in such a short period of time. I would have
expected I would have done.”

The inquiry was told the social services database that contained
referrals could only be searched for the names of service users,
not alleged abusers, so there was no way of keeping a record on

But when questioned by inquiry chairperson Sir Michael Bichard,
Eaden said he believed that, if the right judgements had been made
by social workers, and if the police database had been more
effective, all cases would have been linked without the need for a
new IT system.

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