Tortured Boy Of 17 months Dies In ‘Worst Abuse Case Since Climbie’

Victoria Climbie’s little body had 128 injuries. The social services department blamed for her death is now facing another scandal after the death of a toddler.

{mosimage}An inquiry has been launched into the conduct of social workers at Haringey Council in North London following the death of the 17-month- old boy, who had been subjected to appalling abuse.

Despite being monitored by social workers, the boy suffered a broken back and fractured ribs. He is also believed to have had a number of his fingernails removed by pliers.

The case – currently being treated as suspicious death – is expected to be officially turned into a murder inquiry this week.

Details have emerged about the missed opportunities to save the boy.

For months he had been watched by social workers from Haringey, the authority blamed for a series of catastrophic blunders which led to the death of African-born eight-year-old Victoria Climbie.

The Mail can reveal that police twice tried to prosecute the boy’s carers for abuse, but were blocked by lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service who refused to bring charges. Sources described the death of the boy, from Tottenham, as the worst child abuse scandal since the Climbie case.

One said: “Heads should rolls over this. This boy suffered the most horrific abuse imaginable while supposedly being monitored by social workers.

“A number of warning signs were missed by people charged with protecting him. It appears that the lessons of the Climbie case have not been learned.”

Victoria died in January 2000 after being beaten, starved and tortured to death by her great-aunt, Marie Therese Kouao, and Kouao’s lover, Carl Manning, who are both serving life sentences for the murder.

Victoria had 128 injuries on her body, had been trussed up in a bin bag and made to sleep in a freezing bathroom.

Gross negligence and systemic failure in a down-trodden and under-sourced child protection system was highlighted in the 2002 public inquiry into death of Victoria, who had come to Britain for a better life from her native Ivory Coast.

Blunders by three health authorities, two hospitals and up to eight police officers allowed Kouao, 44, and Manning, 28, to subject her to abuse beyond the realms of imagination.

A multi-agency review has been launched into the death of the 17-month-old boy, who has not been named by police. He is believed to be from a large family of travellers.

Haringey Council said: “A police investigation is under way and we cannot comment in detail at this stage.

“We can confirm that an independent multi-agency Serious Case Review has been commissioned by the local Safeguarding Children Board as is routine in such circumstances.

“As this is an ongoing review, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

The boy’s mother and her boyfriend have been arrested in connection with the death.

Scotland Yard said: “We are investigating the death of a 17-month-old boy brought into the North Middlesex Hospital on the morning of August 3.

“The child was confirmed dead at 12.10 that day. Following concerns raised by staff at the hospital, police attended.

“A woman aged 25 was arrested at the hospital. She was taken into custody and bailed pending further inquiries. A man aged 31 was later arrested and bailed.

“A post mortem held at Great Ormond Street Hospital on August 8 was inconclusive and we await the results of further tests. The death is being treated as suspicious.”

News of the death comes only days after social workers in West Yorkshire were criticised for failing to save four-year-old Leticia Wright, who was tortured to death by her mother Sharon Wright and her boyfriend Peter McKenzie-Seaton.

They were jailed for life last week.