'Concerns' remain about children's services that failed murdered boy

'Concerns' remain about children's services that failed murdered boy

August 2, 2022

Watchdog STILL has ‘serious concerns’ with children’s services department which failed to protect murdered five-year-old Logan Mwangi

  • Logan was murdered in July last year by his mother, stepfather and stepbrother
  • Social services repeatedly missed opportunities to spot abuse and protect him
  • Care Inspectorate Wales noted improvements in Bridgend County Borough Council in last 12 months but said there was still need for ‘urgent action’
  • The council ‘welcomed’ the report and said the progress made will continue

Inspectors have blasted the council which failed to protect murdered five-year-old Logan Mwangi, with the watchdog insisting ‘serious concerns’ remain about its children’s services a full year after his death.

Care Inspectorate Wales noted there have been improvements at Bridgend County Borough Council in the last 12 months, but said there was still a need for ‘further urgent action’.

Young Logan was killed by his mother, stepfather and stepbrother in July last year after suffering ‘catastrophic’ internal injuries consistent with a ‘brutal and sustained assault’ and likened to a car crash.

His body was found in the River Ogmore near his home in Sarn, Bridgend County.

In the lead up to his death, social services repeatedly failed to spot signs that Logan was being abused and missed opportunities to protect him.

In August 2020, police quizzed Logan’s mother over his broken arm but no action was taken; in January 2021, Logan was placed on the child protection register after being pushed down the stairs; in May 2021, a social worker was informed that Logan had “burned his neck on the bath”. 

The family home was even visited by a social worker the day before Logan died, but she did not ask to speak to the youngster as she was told he had Covid-19.

Medical experts have said it was likely that Logan was already seriously injured at this time. 

Logan Mwangi, 5, (pictured above) was murdered in July last year by his mother, stepfather and stepbrother in Bridgend county

Logan’s mother Angharad Williamson, 31 (pictured left) and his stepfather John Cole, 40, (pictured right) were convicted of murder in April this year and sentenced to a minimum of 28 years and 29 years in prison respectively

Craig Mulligan, 14, (pictured above) was also convicted of murder and sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison

How social workers had ‘no concerns’ over adoptive father who went on to kill 18-month-old girl 

The last major social services failure in Wales was just six years ago – when adoptive father Matthew Scully-Hicks killed his 18-month-old daughter Elsie under the eye of social workers.

A child safeguarding review at the time found Scully-Hicks, and his husband Craig, were seen as ‘positive parents’ and the catalogue of abuse suffered at the hands of the personal trainer were written off by medics and social workers as accidents. 

Scully-Hicks, from Cardiff, subjected Elsie to months of horrific assaults before killing her in an attack so severe her tiny body looked like it had been in a ‘car crash’.

The family was visited 15 times by at least three social workers and he made numerous visits to the GP and A&E when he injured Elsie – but there was ‘no concern’ about his parenting.

John Cole, 40, Angharad Williamson, 31, and 14-year-old Craig Mulligan were all convicted of murder in April this year.

Cole will serve a minimum of 29 years, Williamson at least 28 years, while teenage Mulligan will serve at least 15 years.

Concerns about standards at Bridgend children’s services department had already been flagged even before Logan’s death.

Inspectors from Care Inspectorate Wales carried out an assurance check in April 2021 and highlighted areas of concern.

In May this year, a performance evaluation was undertaken that looked at four aspects: children, prevention, wellbeing and partnership working.

The watchdog said the council was like many other local authorities facing high levels of demand on children’s services and increasing case complexities.

There were also problems with the retention of experienced staff, recruitment, and a reliance on newly qualified and agency social workers.

However, the report did praise improved communications with partner agencies.

It read: ‘The culmination of these pressures coupled with deficits in some systems and processes, including managerial oversight arrangements, has had a significant adverse impact on the delivery of some children’s services in Bridgend County Borough.

‘Concerns were identified in relation to the timeliness of the local authority’s information advice and assistance service and the ability to meet its statutory responsibilities to promote and protect the well-being of vulnerable children and families.’

Social services repeatedly failed to spot signs that Logan Mwangi was being abused during his short life – despite clear warnings in the weeks and months before his death.

1. Logan’s broken arm

August 16, 2020

Medics call police over possible safeguarding concerns as mother Angharad Williamson waited a day before bringing him into hospital after breaking his arm.

Williamson is quizzed by a detective and tells him Logan fell down the stairs at John Cole’s home nearby – but no further action is taken.

2. Pushed down the stairs

January 21, 2021

Williamson calls 101 and says Mulligan had confessed to pushing Logan down the stairs the previous August. Logan is placed on the child protection register as a result of Cole’s previous convictions.

3. ‘Burned by hot tap’

May 2021

Williamson calls social worker Gaynor Rush to report that Logan has ‘burned his neck on the bath’.

She asks for photos of the wound and the tap and concludes they were a match. In court, Cole claimed Williamson burned Logan with a scalding teaspoon as a punishment – however she denied doing so.

4. Cole’s bid for parental responsibility

June 2021

Mulligan’s social worker Debbie Williams supports Cole being granted parental responsibility for the 13-year-old – despite Logan having just been taken off the child protection register. Social worker Gaynor Rush tries to speak to Williams over concerns but said she was ignored.

5. Social worker doesn’t ask to see Logan

July 30, 2021

Debbie Williams attends the family home to check on Mulligan on the day before Logan died. She does not ask to speak to Logan and is not allowed in as he’s self-isolating. Cole asks about claiming benefits, while Mulligan tells her to ‘f*** off’ and says he did not need her any more.

Medical experts have said it was likely that Logan was already seriously injured at this time.

The report said there was a variation in the quality of services and social work practice provided to children and families but there had been ‘more recent decisive improvement’ following internal and external audits and reviews.

Inspectors asserted that there would also need to be ‘sustainable progress at pace’ across children’s services

The inspection was undertaken at a time when the council had recognised that ‘significant action and resource’ was needed to improve children’s services in the area.

The watchdog acknowledged: ‘We found some improvements that had been made since April 2021.

‘However, we continued to have serious concerns about the delivery of children’s services in Bridgend.

‘The local authority has accepted the findings of this report and has assured us it is prioritising the work required to address the issues identified by this inspection.’

‘A strategic board has been set up to ensure improvements are made.’

Gillian Baranski, chief inspector of Care Inspectorate Wales, said: ‘I am pleased to acknowledge there has been some improvement since our assurance check in April 2021.

‘However, further urgent action must be taken to secure and sustain improvement in the care and support for children and families in Bridgend.

‘This work must be prioritised to ensure the best possible outcomes for children.

‘We will continue to liaise with the local authority’s senior leaders and are closely monitoring the local authority’s performance.’

Bridgend County Borough Council welcomed the report and said it confirmed several improvements have already been made while others were being implemented.

Councillor Jane Gebbie, cabinet member for social services and early help, said: ‘We welcome the findings of this report, and have assured inspectors that the progress we have already made will continue.

‘A great deal of work has already taken place to improve the overall quality of our services for children and their families, and much of this has been highlighted by the report.

‘I would like to thank our children’s services workforce for the commitment and dedication that they have demonstrated during the considerable challenges of the pandemic and beyond.

‘The council also remains committed towards strengthening the overall effectiveness and resilience of its services for children, and we will continue to liaise closely with the inspectors as we seek to deliver further improvements.’

Following Logan’s death, a child practice review was launched and is being led by the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Safeguarding Board, which includes local councils, police, probation service and NHS.

It is expected to be published later this year.

The children failed by the system: How social services missed multiple opportunities to save horrifically abused children

 Logan Mwangi, murdered July 31, 2021

Logan Mwangi 

Five-year-old Logan Mwangi was murdered by his mother, step-father and teenage step-brother on July 31, 2021.

 His body, which suffered 56 ‘catastrophic’ injuries consistent with a ‘brutal and sustained assault’ was found in the River Ogmore near his home in Sarn, Bridgend county.

 John Cole, 40, Angharad Williamson, 31, and 14-year-old Craig Mulligan were all convicted of murder in April 2022.

Cole will serve a minimum of 29 years, Williamson at least 28 years, while teenage Mulligan will serve at least 15 years.

Social services repeatedly missed signs of abuse and opportunities to protect Logan, with injuries dating back to August 2020.

Star Hobson, murdered September 22, 2020

Star Hobson 

Star Hobson was only 16 months old when she was killed at her home in Keighley, West Yorkshire. 

Star was murdered by her mother Frankie Smith’s girlfriend Savannah Brockhill after suffering months of abuse in her home during the Covid lockdown last year.

Frankie Smith 20, was handed an eight-year sentence for allowing her daughter’s death. This was extended to 12 years in March for being too lenient. 

Brockhill, 28, was convicted of murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years. No appeal was made against her sentence. 

It was revealed that social services had missed five opportunities to stop her killers in the months before her death on September 22, 2020. 

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, murdered June 16, 2020 

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, aged six, was murdered by his cruel stepmother Emma Tustin in June.

She was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 29 years and the boy’s father Thomas Hughes was jailed for 21 years for manslaughter. 

The boy had been seen by social workers just two months before his death, but they concluded there were no safeguarding concerns. 

In October 2019, Aileen Carabine, a special educational coordinator at Arthur’s school, said Arthur ‘deteriorated’ that month. 

Kyrell Matthews, murdered October 20, 2019

Kyrell Matthews

Kyrell Matthews, aged two, was left with 41 rib fractures and internal injuries by the time of his death after weeks of cruelty at the hands of his mother Phylesia Shirley and her boyfriend Kemar Brown.

Brown was convicted of murder while Shirley was acquitted of murder but found guilty of the alternative charge of manslaughter.

They appeared alongside each other in the dock as Brown was sentenced to at least 25 years in prison while Shirley was jailed for 13 years.

The toddler, who was non-verbal, could be heard crying and screaming on distressing audio files taken from Shirley’s phone and played to jurors during the trial. 

Brown and Shirley are understood to have been visited by social services at least once.

Source: Read Full Article