Jessica Randall’s death ‘could not have been anticipated’

Northamptonshire’s inter-agency child protection procedures were not breached in the case of Jessica Randall, a serious case review has found. It also said that no agency could have anticipated the need to protect the baby.

Jessica was killed at the age of seven weeks by her father Andrew Randall, who was convicted of murder and jailed for life at Northampton Crown Court on 1 March last year.

Better communication
The serious case review published today emphasises that while no direct breaches of child protection procedures took place, “on occasions the interagency communication between health and children and young people’s service should have been clearer”.

The only relevant information known to agencies about Jessica’s family was held by medical records. As there was no previous knowledge of Andrew Randall that would indicate he posed a significant risk, no agency could have anticipated the need to take steps to protect the baby from her father, the report finds.

But the report adds that there were grounds for a referral to the children and young people’s service regarding Jessica’s mother’s previous mental health history. Had the referral been made and an investigation undertaken, information may have come to light that would have led to a protection plan being implemented.

“The instigation of any investigation or assessment leading to a protection plan may have placed Jessica’s father in the spotlight and the impact may have been for him to change his behaviour…this can, however, only remain as a possible hypothesis,” the report says.

The serious case review makes many recommendations including the implementation of a county-wide child protection and safeguarding training strategy.

Improvements vital
Paul Burnett, director for children and young people at Northamptonshire Council, said: “It is vital that all those organisations involved in the care of Jessica learn lessons from this report and build on the improvements being made to the way we all work together and communicate with each other in our role of safeguarding children.

“We, along with our partners, acknowledge all of the mistakes that were made and we have already taken action to address the key findings of this report to ensure that our services for children are improved as proposed.”

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