Cumbria

Poppi Worthington death: Detective admits mistakes made

Mike Forrester
Image caption Now retired, Mike Forrester was put in charge of the case two weeks after the death

A detective in charge of investigating the death of a 13-month-old girl in Barrow has admitted mistakes were made in the inquiry.

Poppi Worthington died in December 2012 but there was a delay of almost nine months before a full inquiry began.

Police failed to keep items for analysis, the home was not visited or statements taken, new documents show.

Retired Det Supt Mike Forrester said "with hindsight" he would have done things sooner.

Poppi was pronounced dead in hospital after paramedics were called to her home.

In October 2104 an inquest ruled her death was unascertained.

It has now emerged that police were criticised for a number of failings following her death.

'Nothing dishonest'

These included failing to preserving certain items for analysis whilst senior investigating officers did not visit the family home and witness statements were not taken until September 2013.

Mr Forrester, the officer in charge who has retired from Cumbria Police, defended the force's actions.

"I'm not saying we get it right all the time, but none of us on this case have done anything intentionally wrong", he said.

"We haven't done anything dishonest. We've done the best we can with the information we had (and) with the resources we had at the time."

He said police were awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination, which should have taken weeks, but took months, something he described as "a disgrace".

"I do accept that the police and other agencies perhaps have got things wrong, particularly in the very early stages around scene management and the time lines of the investigation," he said.

"Hindsight's a wonderful thing. If I look back now and think would I have done anything differently, perhaps I would have done things sooner."

Poppi's father, Paul Worthington, was arrested nine months after the death and subsequently released without any charge.

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