CAFCASS; Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service











{July 1, 2009}   Social services knew toddler was in danger – but failed to stop her being kicked to death by babysitter

http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/news/archive/2009/june/26/02.htm

Social services are in the dock again after a toddler was left to die at the hands of a schoolboy babysitter despite repeated warnings that she was in grave danger.

Demi-Leigh Mahon, two, was punched, kicked and bitten by 15-year-old Karl McCluney, while her drug-addict mother was out collecting child benefit.

The little girl suffered at least 68 separate injuries.

As McCluney was convicted of murder the catalogue of failings by social services was finally revealed.

An independent report found that social workers should have taken action. They knew that Demi-Leigh was being raised in a drugs den.

Members of the public and neighbours had told children’s services that the child was left crying a lot and that her mother, Ann-Marie McDonald, was injecting heroin and was unable to care for her.

Police had reports of domestic abuse.

Yet at no point did social services intervene, and Demi-Leigh was never placed on the ‘at risk’ register.

The case is the second in two years in which Salford social services – branded inadequate by Ofsted in 2007 – have been found to be at fault.

However, no one has been disciplined over the errors which enabled Demi-Leigh’s mother to leave her daughter with McCluney, who had previously threatened to beat up a teacher and stab another man.

In March last year 31-year-old Miss McDonald – known as Sindy – was given a rehabilitation order after being convicted of supplying heroin and cocaine from her flat in Eccles, near Manchester. But she failed to comply and took Demi-Leigh to a friend’s flat, resulting in a warrant for her arrest.

On July 15, she left her daughter with McCluney at his father’s flat. It was his 15th birthday. When Demi-Leigh began crying he flew into a rage. He subjected the defenceless toddler to an appalling assault, punching her in the face, biting her and kicking her.

 View summaries of the case reviews here.

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