Judge reconsiders evidence surrounding death of girl, 10, following council appeal

A High Court judge is reconsidering evidence surrounding the death of a ten-year-old girl whose body was found in her bedroom more than two years ago.

Mr Justice Hayden has been asked to make findings about the cause of the youngster’s death by social services bosses at a London council, who have welfare responsibilities for other children in her family.

He began analysing evidence at a private trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Tuesday after lawyers representing Southwark Council (pictured) asked for a ruling.

The judge has imposed limits on what can be reported about the hearing, which is due to last several weeks.

He said neither the dead girl, whose body was found at her home in London on a Sunday morning in November 2016, nor the children at the centre of the case, could be identified in media reports.

Another High Court judge had initially considered the case in late 2017.

Mr Justice Francis concluded in December 2017 that council bosses had not proved that the “genital injuries” and “fatal neck injuries” the girl suffered were “deliberately inflicted”.

Council bosses had appealed against Mr Justice Francis’s ruling and in July 2018 Court of Appeal judges upheld that challenge and ordered a fresh High Court trial.

Both Mr Justice Francis and appeal court judges had criticised police.

Mr Justice Francis said, in a written ruling, that there had been a “catalogue of failures”.

Appeal court judge Lady Justice King said the police investigation had been “replete” with mistakes.

She compared it with the police investigation into the death of 13-month-old Poppi Worthington, who collapsed at her home in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, in December 2012.

That investigation was also criticised by a judge who analysed evidence at hearings in the Family Division of the High Court.

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