Beds, Herts & Bucks

Baby boy starved to death 'could have been saved'

Angela (l) and Jessica Price Image copyright South Bedfordshire News Agency
Image caption Angela Price and her daughter Jessica were jailed for eight years

A seven-month-old boy who starved to death could have been saved, a serious case review has found.

The boy, known as Baby Imran, died in January 2014 after being neglected by his mother and grandmother, who were later jailed for eight years each.

A serious case review by Luton Safeguarding Children Board said intervention by health visitors could have prevented his death.

It apportions the blame to their workload and lack of training.

Jessica and Angela Price were convicted at Luton Crown Court of not seeking help as Imran lost 17% of his body weight in just a few days while under their care, and for allowing his death.

During their trial, the court heard how the boy had sunken eyes as a result of dehydration.

'Pet bird droppings'

The serious case review found that hospital and community-based services raised concerns about the conditions in the family home, as there was "a house full of 'clutter', dirt due to pet bird droppings, safety hazards, smoke due to heavy cigarette smoking, cramped living conditions and bed sharing.

It said indicators of a mother struggling to cope with three young children in "less than favourable conditions were not recognised".

"In turn, this placed all of the children at risk of further neglect and emotional harm," the review said. "No one single agency took an assertive lead on the management, assessment and intervention of the case, despite opportunities being presented to do so.

"(The child's) critical needs were not sufficiently recognised at a time when there was an emerging picture of the mother failing to engage with services."

The organisations involved included Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, Cambridgeshire Community Services and Luton Borough Council.

The NSPCC said the "distressing case" highlighted the "huge workloads" child protection professionals have to cope with.

"However, opportunities to help him were sadly missed and information gathered about the family over a four-year period was never properly shared," a spokesman said.

"While the mother and grandmother, found guilty of allowing Imran's death, were evasive and deceitful it is clear that more effective communication and intervention could have saved his life."

The case review made several suggestions for the individual agencies.

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