Essex County Council 'regret' over Rebecca Watkins care

Rebecca Watkins Image copyright Cascade
Image caption Rebecca Watkins' father Darren had expressed his wishes to be involved in his daughter's care

A coroner said a teenager who killed herself was the victim of a "catalogue of failures" by social services.

Rebecca Watkins, 16, of Braintree, was found dead at the Evergreen children's home in Brandon, Suffolk, in 2009.

An inquest into her death, held in Bury St Edmunds, heard she had felt "unwanted and unloved".

Essex County Council said it "deeply regrets its failure to identify" opportunities in her care which "may have made a difference".

During the six-day hearing, Rebecca's father Darren, who had not seen Rebecca since she was seven, complained he was never consulted about her care.

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Media captionThe Suffolk coroner said Rebecca had been "failed time and again"

Although Essex County Council's social services department was aware of Mr Watkins' wishes, and the fact Rebecca was keen to be in contact with her father, officers sent letters to an old address which were never forwarded on to him.

Paul Secker, director of safeguarding at Essex County Council, said: "I am genuinely sorry he (Mr Watkins) wasn't given the chance to care for Becky."

Senior Coroner for Suffolk Peter Dean said there had been a "significant catalogue of failings" and was "failed time and again".

Psychiatrist Dr Kevin Beardsworth told the hearing Rebecca "always yearned for a strong bond with her mother, but she never felt loved, wanted or valued".

He said Rebecca could be "delightful and caring" and was a "phenomenal singer".

The inquest had previously been told by care assistant Rochelle Chevalier, who found Rebecca hanged, that she should not have been at the Brandon home.

"She should not have been with us; she needed somewhere she could get more help," Ms Chevalier told the hearing.

The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide.

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