Serious Case Reveiw finds warning signs missed before mother murdered baby son

Poor sharing of information led to warning signs being missed before a 19-day-old boy was murdered by his mother, a serious case review has found.

Nicola Brown, 43, was found guilty of the murder of her son Jake following a trial at Winchester Crown Court in 2016 and was sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 14-and-a-half years.

The serious case review, carried out by the Portsmouth Safeguarding Children’s Board, found that information sharing between agencies, including hospital staff and GPs, was inadequate.

Its conclusion states: “In this case the exchange of information between agencies was left wanting, particularly in relation to the adults’ respective histories.

“Some incomplete exchanges of information between the police, children’s social care and the health visitor about the historical and current issues relating to domestic abuse meant that more targeted services were not offered to the family at an early stage.”

The report stated that Brown (pictured) had a history of anger management, anxiety and depression and the child’s father, Jason Brown, 44, who was acquitted of causing or allowing the death of a child, had a “troubled childhood” and issues with excessive drinking.

Dr Richard John, chairman of the PSCB, said: “Our review showed there were no major failings, all the agencies involved responded appropriately and promptly reacted to concerns.

“We have made recommendations for improvements in sharing information between organisations, and are pleased to see that professionals across health, police and social care are now co-located in a multi-agency safeguarding team.”

The trial heard that Jake suffered 17 broken ribs during his short life, which ended while his mother was looking after him at their former home in Agincourt Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Nigel Lickley QC, prosecuting, said that Jake was subjected to such a severe injury that he would have suffered a “rapid collapse”.

The trial heard that Jake was given the nickname of Bungee because of his unusual and unexpected birth.

The prosecutor told the court that Brown had not informed her doctor that she was pregnant prior to Jake’s birth and she had not undergone a pregnancy scan or arranged for a midwife.

The court heard that Brown described herself and her husband as “ticking time bombs” and said that she suffered from anxiety.

Mr Lickley said that concerns were raised while they were in hospital for four days after the birth and social services were informed.

He said that Jake was deemed at risk but not of “immediate harm” and mother and son were discharged from hospital but visited by midwives on December 5 and 10 at their home, although no concerns for the baby’s well-being were raised during these visits.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Hampshire Police / PA Wire.