'There will ALWAYS be parents who kill their children': Social worker says preventing all mothers like Rebecca Shuttleworth from murdering babies like Keanu IMPOSSIBLE
- Laura Eden of The College Of Social Work speaking on ITV's This Morning
- Joined by Criminologist Dr Elizabeth Yardley and former Met Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Hill
- Discussing case of Rebecca Shuttleworth, 25, murdering son Keanu, two
- Shuttleworth was jailed for life, minimum of 18 years
Laura Eden, who works in social services for Islington Council and also at The College of Social Work, said that preventing all child killings is impossible, regardless of how early or efficiently services such as hers or the police step in.
Eden was speaking in light of the news that 25-year-old mother Rebecca Shuttleworth was jailed for life by Birmingham Crown Court for beating to death her son Keanu Williams, two, over a period of time, inflicting injuries upon the toddler that were described as 'horrifying'. Shuttleworth was said to show no remorse over the killing.
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Laura Eden, left, was speaking in light of the news that 25-year-old mother Rebecca Shuttleworth, right, was jailed for life by Birmingham Crown Court for beating to death her son Keanu Williams, two, over a period of time
Shuttleworth and her son had been known to police, doctors and social services.
Making the comments on today's This Morning, Eden said: 'You will never eradicate all child death, or child abuse and neglect. No matter what we do there will always be parents who kill their children, and that's quite harsh, but that's reality.'
'I do believe it's about professional judgment. But if you lower the threshold then you miss families who really need you. It's about early intervention.'
Keanu Williams, two, was beaten to death by his mother Rebecca Shuttleworth
Eden was joined by Criminologist Dr Elizabeth Yardley and former Met Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Hill to discuss Shuttleworth's case with presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langford.
DCS Hill said she would rather people who saw local families struggling made a call to social services than leave it for fear of looking nosy: 'I would rather make that phone call and save that child.'
Defending social services, she added: 'There are thousands of children being protected on child protection plan as we speak.
'However, when you drop one ball it's a disaster. And we've lost a little boy.
'The thing is, to be a child protection team officer or social worker you have to be very gutsy, very experienced - you have to be able to challenge the clinical findings of doctors.'
In response to the question "why do mothers kill?", Dr Yardley said that murderous parents can be split into two camps, those in mental ill health and those with parental deficit.
She said: 'People eperiencing mental health aren't really developing the capacity to fulful the parent role. They might be suffering from psychosis or Munchausen Syndrome by proxy.
'The second group is parental deficit - people who are perfectly sane, perfeclty competent, but are not putting their children's needs in front of their own, so you've got this continuous neglect, continuous abuse, and that's sometimes exacerbated to such a point that it has fatal consequences.'
Dr Yardley said Shuttleworth would probably fall into the category of parental deficit.
Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langford, right-hand sofa, talking to Laura Eden of The College Of Social Work, left on left-hand sofa, criminologist Dr Elizabeth Yardley, right, and former Met Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Hill, centre
Dr Yardley, left, and former Met Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Hill, right
She added that Shuttleworth lied and hid the damage she had caused to Keanu to protect herself, saying: 'It isn't about concern for their child's welfare. They're incredibly selfish, incredibly manipulative, and very self-absorbed.'
Dr Yardley said in situations like these the local community has a role to play. She said: 'We need to look more widely. We're very quick to jump on health and social services, but we're very reluctant to pry into other families' lives ourselves.'
'We need to look more widely. We're very quick to jump on health and social services, but we're very reluctant to pry into other families' lives ourselves'
The three experts said it was important for all agencies involved in child welfare - police, social services, education and health - to work together and share information.
Shuttleworth was found guilty of murder on four counts of child abuse and jailed for life, to serve a minimum of 18 years.
Her boyfriend Luke Sotherton, 32, was cleared of murder but convicted of cruelty and given a nine-month suspended sentence and 200 hours of community service.
Keanu Williams was found dead in January 2011 with 37 injuries, including bite marks, a fractured skull and a fist-sized tear in his stomach.
Keanu Williams, left, beams at the camera in this family photo which gives no hint at the cruelty he would suffer at the hand of his evil mother Rebecca Shuttleworth
He was hit repeatedly with a stick or rod over 48 hours and died of internal bleeding, a post-mortem examination found.
Paramedics discovered his body at the home of Shuttleworth’s then boyfriend, Luke Southerton.
Shuttleworth, who was sentenced by Mr Justice Spencer at Birmingham Crown Court, had also been found guilty of four counts of child cruelty.
The judge, who also passed concurrent sentences for child cruelty totalling four years, told Shuttleworth: 'The jury have convicted you of the brutal murder of your two-year-old son.
'He was a defenceless child and it was your duty to protect him. Instead you beat him so severely he died a lingering death from his injuries a day or so later.
'You have also been convicted of cruelty by failing to summon the medical aid he so badly needed.'
Paying tribute to Keanu, the judge added: 'He was a delightful little boy described as a real character, a little entertainer who remained cheerful despite everything.
'Joyful was the word that more than one witness used to describe him - he was a favourite at nursery as well as within the family.
'His death has left a void in many live which will never be filled.'
Although the judge accepted that Shuttleworth had experienced her share of tragedy in losing her mother and grandmother following a 'troubling' upbringing, he said she had shown a cruel and vicious streak towards Keanu.
As Shuttleworth wept in the dock, the judge added: 'By the jury's verdict, you alone were responsible for the violence which led to Keanu's death.
'One can scarcely imagine the pain and distress Keanu must have suffered from this outburst of violence.
'He must have been terrified, it must have been clear to you as soon as the violence had taken place that Keanu was badly in need of medical attention.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2350696/Social-worker-says-preventing-mothers-like-Rebecca-Shuttleworth-murdering-babies-like-Keanu-Williams-IMPOSSIBLE.html#ixzz2XYdnmRDt
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