A toddler killed by his mother had been taken off the child protection register, it has emerged.The BBC report is very bland and matter of fact about the story:
Sean Denton, died aged 18 months in Barnet, north London, in October 2007, and his mother Amanda Adams killed herself shortly afterwards.
It is thought it happened after she learned her partner Mark Denton had committed suicide.But there are clues that this is yet another case of ‘child protection’ as utter failure:
Barnet Council said Sean's parents had previously both been convicted of manslaughter in 1999.I love the way that’s just thrown in there, almost as an afterthought. And no details of who they killed or why are given.
But the ‘Sun’ reports, they were also junkies. In fact, the ‘Mirror’ gives even more details of the case that throw a very different light on the story:
Amanda, 30, and Mark, 35, together killed a squatter in a violent row in 1999 - and were each sentenced for manslaughter. Amanda was jailed for life, Mark received a lesser sentence - but both were released after just five years.Cheers, justice system!
Until now, the tragic circumstances of Sean’s death have been kept quiet. His parents met in rehab in 1999. Amanda, whose father killed himself when she was just eight years old, was known to authorities as a troublesome teenager whose mother couldn’t control her.Oh, yeah, these are sterling examples of parents, aren’t they?
When she and Mark came out of rehab they were homeless and lived in a squat. They soon spiralled back into a life of drink and drugs. It wasn’t long before they killed a fellow squatter and were jailed. They were released in 2004 and the following year they got back together. Amanda then fell pregnant with Sean.
The authorities were so concerned that Sean was placed on the child protection register even before his birth. But, astonishingly, the decision was made to take him off the register when he was just a few weeks old because he was healthy and there were no signs of abuse.
So, back to the Beeb:
A spokesman for the council said the authority would have acted if they had known Mr Denton had died as his death had a "profound" affect on the child's mother.Or to paraphrase: ‘Oh, come on! How could we possibly predict that these people might not be up to the demanding task of looking after a child?’ Perhaps because, as Dumbjon points out, their own outlook is so often skewed a few degrees off true...?
A Serious Case Review was launched into Sean's death by the Safeguarding Children Board.
A council source said the confidential review found Barnet Council "had behaved appropriately and in line with government guidance in the case."
He added the review found "that it would be unlikely that intervention would have saved his life due to the mothers wish for the family to be reunited in death."
And as far as the Beeb is concerned, that’s it. Case closed, go back to reading about the ‘X Factor’ result, peasants.
But over at the ‘Mirror, things aren’t looking so rosy:
The year-long Serious Case Review, seen by the Sunday Mirror, reveals a catalogue of fatal blunders that led to the child’s welfare being ignored.That’s a lot of agencies…
Mother and baby were being monitored by the Metropolitan Police, London Probation, Barnet NHS Primary Care Trust, Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health, London Borough of Barnet and Barnet Homes and Barnet Children’s Services.
The papers reveal the many mistakes made by the organisations which failed to spot the baby was in danger. They also reveal a complete communication breakdown between the 10 different authorities, including two police forces, which meant Barnet child protection workers were not told of the father’s suicide.Breakdowns in communication? Where have we seen that before?
Oh, right! All the previous failures….
A further independent review slammed officials for painting a ‘positive picture’ of the parents and being ‘overly optimistic’. It said carers did not check records properly and ‘the history of extreme violence was not explored’.One question – are we sure this is even the right report? Or is this just a template given to every authority, to just change the names each time?
Because it doesn’t sound so different from all those other reports, does it? The ones from which the officials always swear they will ‘learn lessons’…
A whistleblower who attended the Serious Case Review was appalled by what he heard.‘Whistleblower’, eh…? Let’s hope this one doesn’t get the same treatment as the last one….
He told the Sunday Mirror: ‘Sirens should have been ringing as loud and clear over this case as possible.’ The review suggested there should have been greater risk assessments and that they should have looked more closely at the history of the parents. If two killer parents with a history of drug and alcohol problems aren’t a risk, I don’t know what is.
’Baby S’s death was completely preventable - no ifs or buts.
The separate, damning independent Overview Review report, by child protection expert Sally Trench said: ‘Previous records were not consulted, extreme violence not explored.Yeah, I just bet she did…
The director of children’s services in Barnet at the time of Sean’s death - Gillian Palmer - has since moved on to work for Greenwich Council in South London.
Yesterday when approached at her home she refused to speak to the Sunday Mirror about the case.
’The whistleblower also said of the Serious Case Review: ‘No one said they were sorry.’ There was an air of regretfulness but mostly people said they did all they could do.’You can now see why the Beeb didn’t want to go into more detail about this case, can’t you?
Then we had an email around warning us not to speak to the Press.’