Nottingham

Shanay Walker child cruelty inquest opens in Nottingham

Shanay Walker Image copyright Nottinghamshire Police
Image caption Shanay was found dead at a house in the Bestwood Park area of Nottingham

A teacher of a seven-year-old girl repeatedly abused by her aunt before her death reported concerns on six occasions, an inquest has heard.

Shanay Walker died of a brain injury at a house in Nottingham while in the care of Kay-Ann Morris in July 2014.

Lisa Hyland, of Southglade Primary School, told Nottingham Coroner's Court she had suspicions someone was "deliberately causing injuries" to her.

The aunt and grandmother Juanila Smikle were jailed for child cruelty in 2015.

Image copyright Nottinghamshire Police
Image caption Shanay Walker was a "lively, bubbly" child

The assistant head teacher, who taught Shanay a year before her death, said she was a "lively, bubbly" child who was happy and enthusiastic about school.

"[Shanay] had a cheeky smile... but behind the smile there was sadness," Mrs Hyland said.

She added she also felt "very intimidated" by the schoolgirl's paternal aunt.

Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Shanay's mother Leanne Walker suffered post-natal depression after another pregnancy

A trial at Nottingham Crown Court heard Shanay was placed in Morris's care after her mother, Leanne Walker, suffered post-natal depression after another pregnancy.

Before she lived with Morris, she was fostered by Alison Robinson.

She told the inquest she was desperate to live with her mother and often repeated over and over "I want to be good, but I don't know how".

Mrs Robinson added Shanay had tantrums and sometimes asked to be smacked.

Image copyright Nottinghamshire Police
Image caption Kay-Ann Morris and Juanila Smikle were found guilty of cruelty to Shanay

A post-mortem report showed Shanay had more than 50 injuries to her body.

Morris, of Beckhampton Road, was cleared of murder but both she and Smikle were convicted of "about the worst case" of child cruelty.

Morris was jailed for eight years. Smikle, of Easegill Court, was found guilty of cruelty at a retrial and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

The inquest continues.

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