Deaths Increase The Scrutiny On Child Protection Services In UK
Investigations were under way last night as the deaths of two young boys intensifed the scrutiny on child protection in Britain. Greater Manchester Police is facing serious questions over its handling of the welfare of a troubled family which ended with a baby and toddler being stabbed to death, allegedly by their mother.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which has been called in to conduct an independent investigation, will ask why officers did not turn up at the family’s home until 90 minutes after a local GP raised concerns following a visit by the mother, who displayed erratic and distressed behaviour.
Officers were initially called by the GP at about 1.20pm on Wednesday but did not arrive on the doorstep of the home in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester until about 2.50pm.
While officers, who initially found the house deserted and locked conducted a search of the nearby area, Jael Mullings, 21, was able to slip home with her two children, Romario, aged two, and his three-month-old brother Delayno, and allegedly stab them to death.
Police returned to the property at about 5.45pm where they found the bodies of the two children after forcing their way in.
Ms Mullings was initially held on suspicion of murder but has since been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
A spokesman for the IPCC, which was called in by Greater Manchester Police to investigate its handling of the case “in line with procedure”, said yesterday: “It is in the public’s, police and family’s interest that we establish what happened.
“We will be asking what the police were told, what the concerns were, what the officers did and decide whether there’s anything there to take forward into an investigation.”
Manchester City Council also announced yesterday that it is to review the involvement of social services in the tragedy.
A spokeswoman for the council’s social services department said the Mullings family did previously have a social worker but this arrangement ended at some point before the children died.
The council said that, as an investigation had begun, it was “not appropriate” to explain why and when contact was ended with social workers or say when the family were last seen by social services.
A statement released by the Mullings family said: “We, as a family, are struggling to come to terms with the tragic events and we cannot even begin to understand what happened.
“Everybody is completely devastated. We hope that, wherever the boys have gone to, they are at peace.”
The boys’ father, who did not live with their mother, is in shock and receiving counselling, police said.
Family friend, mother-of-one Melissa Bell, 23, said the killings were a “cry for help” by Ms Mullings.
“I think it’s really sad. It’s a cry for help and she never got the help she needed,” she said. “She is a lovely girl. Everyone said she needed help but she never got any.
“Everyone gets down when you have a kid. It’s got to be depression for her to do something so desperate like that.”