The four missed chances to save Keanu: How social services failed two-year-old boy beaten to death by his mother as it's revealed even SHE was surprised he wasn't taken into care
- Rebecca Shuttleworth murdered son Keanu Williams and was jailed for life
- Review finds Keanu 'collectively failed' by police, social services and NHS
- Boy, 2, covered in cuts, burns and bruises, but was 'invisible' to authorities
- When he died he had 37 injuries, including smashed skull and abdominal tear
- Shuttleworth admits she thought dead son would be taken from her at birth
- Report: 'She expressed surprise Keanu hadn't been removed from her care'
- While pregnant with Keanu, she was allocated student with no qualifications
- Nursery noticed bruises on his body in days before murder but told no-one
- Yet report concludes that Keanu's terrible death could not be predicted
Rebecca Shuttleworth was jailed for life for killing the toddler, who was 'invisible' to the authorities who had 'collectively failed' to spot months of 'horrifying' cruelty, a damning report has found.
A serious case review has concluded that professionals in Birmingham failed to meet even basic standards of care, and missed at least four 'significant' chances to intervene before his murder.
The little boy had 37 injuries when he died, including a fractured skull and a 'fist-sized' tear in his stomach, but police, social services and health workers 'collectively failed to prevent Keanu's death'.
Before coming to this conclusion Shuttleworth was interviewed in jail and told experts she had expected her son to be taken away at birth because of domestic abuse involving Keanu's siblings.
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Brutal: Rebecca Shuttleworth was found guilty of murdering her two-year-old child Keanu Williams, who had 30 separate visible bruises and burns to his tiny body, and was failed by the authorities
'She (Shuttleworth) expressed some surprise that Keanu had not been removed from her care when born. She explained that she had expected such action because of the previous history with her older children', the report says.
TIMELINE: KEANU'S A&E INJURIES WERE WRITTEN OFF AS ACCIDENTS
Shuttleworth also said social services had not 'supported her and Keanu', and added she 'is intending to appeal her sentence'.
The review also says that on four occasions in his short life Keanu was found with injuries but professionals failed to refer them or wrote them off as accidents because his mother lied and called them 'bumps and falls due to unsteadiness'.
Four significant chances for intervention were missed, the report concluded, including three in the final weeks of Keanu's life.
As well as a hospital visit after the burn to the toddler's foot, a two-year developmental check and an appointment at an audiology clinic also took place in late 2010 and January 2011.
It also emerged that there were repeated concerns about Shuttleworth when she was pregnant with Keanu in 2008, but she was allocated a student with no social worker qualifications.
Earlier this year his mother was convicted of murder and four counts of child cruelty.
Her partner Luke Southerton was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter but convicted of child cruelty and given a nine-month suspended jail term and 200 hours unpaid work.
The independent report, published today by Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board, said child protection workers in various agencies 'collectively failed' to prevent Keanu's death.
Making eight recommendations to the organisations involved in Keanu's care, the review's author said various agencies were guilty of a 'loss of focus' after a core assessment made shortly before the toddler's first birthday.
Innocent: Keanu Williams, pictured, plays with a bucket of water, and died on January 9 2011 after being admitted to hospital with multiple injuries
The report stated: 'The main finding of the review overview report was that professionals in the various agencies involved ... collectively failed to prevent Keanu's death as they missed a significant number of opportunities to intervene and take action.
'They did not meet the standards of basic good practice when they should have reported their concerns, shared and analysed information and followed established procedures.
'The serious case review panel was in agreement that Keanu's death could not have been predicted.
'However, in view of the background history of Rebecca Shuttleworth... it could have been predicted that Keanu was likely to suffer significant harm and should have been subject of a child protection plan on at least two occasions to address issues of neglect and physical harm.'
Excuses given to health professionals by Shuttleworth after incidents of abuse, including a radiator burn to his foot, were not credible, the review found.
The 182-page report said: 'Keanu experienced a number of presentations to hospital and to the GP, which were all explained by Shuttleworth as bumps and falls due to unsteadiness.
'The last hospital presentation involved a child protection medical assessment which was not undertaken in accordance with good practice standards.
'Keanu was returned to Shuttleworth's care with a burn to his foot believed to have been caused accidentally by a hot radiator.
'Based on the medical evidence, this conclusion was mistaken and therefore Shuttleworth's description on the 'accident' was not deemed credible.'
The report follows other highly critical serious case reviews into child deaths, including the murder and starvation of Coventry four-year-old Daniel Pelka.
Noting similarities with other case reviews conducted in the West Midlands, the report into Keanu's death added: 'The standards of practice revealed when some frontline professionals and managers were undertaking basic child protection tasks were of serious concern as several opportunities to protect Keanu were missed.
'The core business of the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board was characterised by inattention to procedures and protocols and an absence of reasonable judgment when making decisions about Keanu in a number of instances.
'From this it follows that the core business of the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board was not functioning well enough to ensure effective multi-agency practice in meeting Keanu's needs'.
Crime scene: Police and forensic officers the area around the flat in Birmingham where Keanu Williams was found dead
Hellish: Pictured is the bed where Keanu Williams, who was discovered by paramedics with 37 separate injuries on his body, would sleep
Catalogue of injuries: Rebecca Shuttleworth was convicted of murdering her two-year-old son after subjecting him to savage and sustained abuse, the injuries resulting from which where detailed at Birmingham Crown Court
Shocking: A a body map details the harrowing injuries sustained by Keanu Williams
Damning: The review also found that the toddler's nursery failed to report a number of marks and bruises on his body before Keanu was murdered
Nursery staff were also criticised in the report for not alerting social services after seeing a number of marks on bruises on Keanu's body when he appeared distressed four days before his death.
'No referral was made and clear guidelines and procedures were not followed as staff believed the explanations put forward by Shuttleworth,' the report noted.
Addressing mistakes identified in other previous reviews, the report went on: 'A number of the issues which have arisen are familiar themes nationally, such as poor communication between and within agencies, a lack of analysis of information, as well as a lack of 'professional curiosity'.'
A lack of confidence among professionals in challenging parents and shortcomings in recording systems were also highlighted by the review.
Responding to the report, the independent chair of Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board, Jane Held, expressed 'very deep regret' on behalf of all the agencies involved.
Speaking at Birmingham's Council House, Ms Held said: 'We apologise unequivocally for what were totally unacceptable and unnecessary failures, both collectively and individually, in every organisation which had contact with Keanu.'
Denial: Rebecca Shuttleworth and Luke Southerton, pictured together in the dock of Birmingham Crown Court, both denied murder. She was found guilty, he was cleared
Fully accepting the report's recommendations, Ms Held added: 'Keanu died because there was a failure across every agency to see, hear and respond to him in the context of what he was experiencing at any one point in time.
'No one walked in his shoes.
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'Staff were distracted by his mother's needs and by taking what she was telling them at face value.'
An unspecified number of employees, including some city council staff, have resigned or were sacked in the wake of the failings.
The man tasked with improving Birmingham's children's services, Peter Hay, described the latest case review as a 'further blight upon this city's reputation'.
Mr Hay, the city council's acting strategic director for children, young people and families, told reporters: 'We have failed to meet the basic expectation that our children are safe.
'For this we are unequivocally sorry.
'We accept too that given our record in failing to improve children's services, our apology may ring hollow.
'We want today's report to be a point of real change in children's services.
'Our track record over recent years is poor and we do not flinch from acknowledging that a very different approach is needed.'
Bridget Robb, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, claimed a 'culture of failure' in Birmingham for many years seemed to have become ingrained.
Ms Robb said: 'The council has an old-fashioned and hierarchical culture, where scapegoating has been the norm and staff are reluctant to admit when mistakes are made and when they are struggling.
'Birmingham children's services has had four management changes in four years and three department re-organisations. This constant instability is totally demoralising for social workers.'
Calling for a change in the relationship between councillors, managers and frontline staff, Ms Robb said: 'It is time for an honest appraisal of child protection provision in the city, across all agencies.
'We want to see a management culture where frontline staff are supported to improve rather than a 'witch-hunt' when things go wrong.
'This is not about excusing poor practice and covering up mistakes, but social workers do need to be empowered to express concerns about cases and say at the time what needs to change, if we are to better protect the city's children.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2442393/Social-services-police-collectively-failed-year-old-boy-beaten-death-mother-says-damning-report-finds-multiple-chances-intervention-missed.html#ixzz2gf08nlaq
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