Lily-Mai discharged from hospital despite social worker’s worries, court hears

A social worker in charge of the case of a 10-week-old girl who was allegedly murdered by her parents said she was “really worried” about the child going home – but her managers said other options were not a consideration, a court has heard.

Lily-Mai Hurrell Saint George suffered 18 rib fractures, a leg fracture, and a fatal head injury allegedly caused by forceful shaking at the hands of Lauren Saint George (pictured) and Darren Hurrell, both 25.

She was discharged into her parents’ care just six days earlier despite the opposition of hospital staff over concerns about the mother’s anger problems and her lack of bond with the child, Wood Green Crown Court heard on Wednesday.

Lily-Mai was born premature at 31 weeks on November 17 2017 and remained under the care of medical staff at Barnet Hospital until being discharged on January 22, 2018.

The court heard evidence from Haringey social worker Theresa Ferguson, who attended a discharge planning meeting at Hospital on January 16, where those in attendance expressed concern, but she said her manager said social services options were limited at the time.

Giving evidence about the meeting, she said: “I was really worried about her going home, the hospital was really clear about their concerns. We didn’t really have anything about how the parents were with Lily-Mai.

“I was told that, with the management, there had been conversations and there wasn’t consideration for a placement at that point and Lily-Mai would be returning home.”

A second meeting was scheduled for January 22, to allow for a period of time where both parents could stay at the hospital and be observed with their child.

While concerns remained at the second meetings, she told the court Lily-Mai would would be sent home with her parents as options including supervision in a residential unit were not available.

She said: “I can’t answer for management, but it wasn’t an option at that time.”

The court heard that Lily-Mai had been referred to social services three times, including to Enfield, where the couple lived when she was born, and finally with Haringey after they were found housing in the borough.

Ms Ferguson also told the court she had not “worked a case like Lily-Mai’s” and that she was allocated it as a more senior social worker was working at capacity and another member of the team was too junior.

The court heard on Tuesday that Ms told the couple Lily-Mai would have to go into a residential unit around four or five hours before Saint George made a 999 call on the night of January 31 2018.

Lily-Mai was taken to North Middlesex Hospital suffering from injuries in keeping with suspected physical abuse, but died two days later on February 2 after being transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital, said prosecutor Sally O’Neill QC.

Saint George, of Enfield in north London, and Hurrell, of Alvaston in Derby, are on trial, where both deny murder, manslaughter, causing or allowing a death and child cruelty.

The trial continues.

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