BBC News

Liam Culverhouse told doctors 'I may harm my child'

image copyrightNorthamptonshire Police
image captionLiam Culverhouse was shot while serving in Afghanistan

An ex-soldier jailed over the death of his 19-month-old daughter warned army doctors he was likely to harm his first child, an inquiry has found.

Liam Culverhouse, 25, was jailed for six years last month for causing or allowing the death of Khloe Abrams in Northampton.

A serious case review has found army doctors failed to share Culverhouse's warning with other agencies.

Healthcare staff also failed to spot injuries to Khloe, it found.

Severe brain damage

Culverhouse had served as a lance corporal with the Grenadier Guards.

He was blinded in one eye in an attack in Afghanistan in November 2009, in which five of his comrades were killed.

He suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and was medically discharged from the Army.

Northampton Crown Court heard Khloe was admitted to hospital in May 2011, a few months after his discharge.

She spent more than a year in hospital and was being cared for in a hospice when she died in November 2012 of pneumonia, brought on by injuries she suffered when she was seven weeks old.

She had suffered severe brain damage and fractures to her skull, ribs and limbs.

'Violent and troubled'

Jailing Culverhouse, Judge Jeremy Baker told him: "I accept that the effects of your mental condition contributed to your treatment of your daughter.

"However, you acknowledged to police and others that prior to your experiences in Afghanistan you had always had a temper which manifested itself in other circumstances."

The Serious Case Review has been published by Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Board.

The report, which does not mention Culverhouse and Khloe by name, found there were "clear indicators" which should have led professionals to be "very concerned" about her safety.

Culverhouse, described in court as "violent and troubled", told two Army doctors before Khloe's birth that he believed he was likely to harm his first child if they were left alone together.

The failure of military doctors to share that information with the Army Welfare Services or civilian safeguarding agencies was a "serious error", the report found.

Had it been shared, an assessment would "almost certainly" have been triggered.

'Missed opportunities'

"Measures may well have then been put in place which could have prevented the child's death," the report said.

Khloe had been seriously injured by the time of a routine six-weekly check-up, but fractures to her ribs, arm, spine and leg were not spotted.

Opportunities to learn more about Culverhouse's background, including his "troubled early years", were missed and midwifery staff failed to offer him support.

The report praises the "first-class" care given to Khloe from her admission to hospital until her death, and the "highly professional" police investigation.

The report makes nine recommendations, including that hospital staff make simultaneous referrals to both social services and the police when children are presented with suspected non-accidental injuries.

Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust and Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust should ensure midwives and health visitors routinely make inquiries about the identity of the father of unborn children, parental relationships and parental figures, it recommended.

The report also said the training of military doctors and information-sharing between military medical and social work teams should be examined and, if necessary, improved.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "We take very seriously our obligation to our people and particularly to the children of service people.

"We have already learnt some lessons from this very tragic case and we've taken some actions but we will now study the serious case review report and we will take whatever further actions are necessary."

Related Topics

  • Northampton

More on this story

  • Liam Culverhouse jailed over Khloe Abrams death