Council defends its role in cruelty case

    Plymouth Council is fighting a coroner’s decision to investigate
    its role in the death of a baby.

    In a judicial review this week, the High Court heard that the
    call, by South Devon coroner Nigel Meadows, for the inquest into
    Perrin Barlow’s death to consider the role of “system neglect” was
    based on a misunderstanding of councils’ role in child protection
    cases.

    The court heard that Perrin was on the child protection register
    and under an interim supervision order at the time of his death in
    July 2002, while a council crisis intervention team was working
    with his family.

    His mother, Stephanie Horrocks, and her partner Mark McAndrew
    were jailed last February after pleading guilty to child
    cruelty.

    Paul Storey QC, representing the council, defended its decision
    not to take Perrin into care, saying there was uncertainty over the
    cause of his poor health. “There is no absolute duty upon the state
    to remove a child from his parents simply because there is a risk,”
    he told the court.

    The case was expected to conclude this week.

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