Report: Serious Case Review – Lilly Hanrahan – Birmingham Safeguarding Children Partnership

This independent review focuses on the tragic death of Lilly Hanrahan, a 21-month-old child in November 2017 as a result of catastrophic brain injuries following a violent assault. The child’s mother suffered from drug addiction before and throughout the pregnancy, and the baby was born prematurely.

There was a long history of agency intervention with the family, with the child’s two older siblings living with their maternal grandmother since 2015 under a Special Guardianship Order (SGO). In March 2016, the child was placed with a relative under an SGO, following a positive assessment and endorsement by the Family Court. Children’s services continued to offer support to the Special Guardian for a further 6 months.

In April 2017, the Special Guardian rekindled her relationship with the perpetrator who is now known to have a history of mental health problems and violence, which includes domestic abuse. At the time he was attending a domestic abuse perpetrators group work programme and disclosed that he had started a relationship with a woman with children.

This important information was not shared by the Probation Service, with partner agencies. During October and November 2017, the Special Guardian expressed concerns to nursery and healthcare professionals about the number of bruises sustained by the child. A medical review at hospital was undertaken a month prior to the fatal assault, but at that time no safeguarding concerns were identified.

In November 2017, the child was admitted to hospital having been found unresponsive at her home address and sadly died three days later. In March 2021, the perpetrator was found guilty of the child’s murder and sentenced to a minimum term of 20 years in prison.

The review identifies important learning for front-line practitioners.

Picture (c) West Midlands Police.