Social Workers Miss 200 Scars On 3-Year-Old Girl
A DISGUSTED judge has condemned social workers for failing a three-year-old girl who was abused by her father from just months after she was born.
The child’s arms, legs, and body were covered with nearly 200 scars – including bites, scratches and 10in-long burns on her bottom from being held down on a storage heater.
Her injuries were the most extreme local police had ever seen, the court heard.
Even the doctor who examined the girl when a neighbour blew the whistle was so upset by her injuries that he had to go outside to hide his distress.
Yet, after acting on an anonymous tip-off, social workers failed to spot the wounds because they did not remove the child’s clothing.
This allowed the abuse to continue for another 15 months.
Jailing sadistic Reuben Williams, 23, indefinitely, Judge Peter Hughes QC said: “It is a matter of concern that neither health or social services picked up on what was happening.”
Officials should not take at face value the reassurances given by those who may have something to hide.
There were more than a dozen occasions when officials could have intervened, Carlisle Crown Court heard.
These ranged from when the parents failed to take the girl for health checks and immunisations, to the time Williams’s own mother tipped off social workers and the baby’s GP.
Incredibly, her call was not followed up.
The child’s mother, Elodie Massacrier, 22, helped hide the abuse, which began a few months after her birth in April 2005. She avoided health visitors and never let anyone see the girl undressed, sending her out to play in the summer in tights and a polo-neck.
The judge contrasted how Massacrier took pride in her own appearance, while her child’s scarring meant she was unlikely ever to be able to dress fashionably or sunbathe.
The abuse was finally unmasked in March 2008 after Williams assaulted Massacrier, who went to her neighbour, Jillian Graham, for help. As the mother spoke to a police officer, Ms Graham took the little girl to the lavatory and noticed scars on her legs.
The child was taken into foster care immediately.
Massacrier admitted two charges of cruelty by covering up her partner’s abuse and not getting medical treatment.
She was sentenced to two and a half years in jail.
Williams, who admitted three counts of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, must serve at least five years before he can apply for parole. He will not be released until experts say he no longer poses a threat.
Passing sentence, Judge Hughes said: “I hope the social and healthcare services will reflect on this case and on whether they could have done more.”
He added: “Officials should not take at face value the reassurances given by those who may have something to hide.”
Cumbria’s local Safeguarding Children Board confirmed the girl was now “thriving”. A summary of a serious case review will be published on its website, after being assessed by Ofsted.