Tyne & Wear

Slater Sharkey death: Agencies 'missed' warning signs

Richard Morgan
Image caption Morgan had been living with the baby's mother for two months

Social workers, police and medics missed signs a toddler was at risk before he was killed by his mother's new partner, a report has concluded.

Richard Morgan, from Tantobie, County Durham, was jailed for shaking to death 13-month-old Slater Sharkey in 2010.

A report, by Durham's Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB), said evidence of bruising and breathing difficulties were ignored.

The concerns of Slater's birth father also failed to prompt action.

Morgan, 33, was given a seven-year jail term for manslaughter in December.

Slater's mother, Rachel Peacock, who had been living with Morgan for two months, was cleared of causing or allowing her son's death, but was given a 12-month community order after being convicted of a cruelty charge.

Morgan claimed he had left the baby for a moment in the living room while his mother went to the shops and came back to find he had collapsed.

Several 'errors'

The toddler had 25 identifiable bruises on his body when he was examined after being admitted to hospital in cardiac arrest and pronounced dead in December 2010.

The report found there was inaccurate recording of information, poor communication and lack of contact with the child's father.

Fran Gosling Thomas, chair of the LSCB said: "We wish to offer our sincere condolences to family members who have been very much a part of this review.

"The review highlighted errors regarding recording of information, issues around poor communication and a lack of robust assessment and professional curiosity and challenge by a number of agencies.

"There were broader issues in that the child's father and wider family members were not given the opportunity to contribute to assessments."

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