Nottingham

Shanay Walker child cruelty inquest: Communication 'failed miserably'

Shanay Walker Image copyright Nottinghamshire Police
Image caption Shanay Walker was found dead at a house in the Bestwood Park area of Nottingham in 2014

Communication between professionals "failed miserably" before the death of a seven-year-old girl repeatedly abused by her aunt, an inquest has heard.

Shanay Walker's aunt and grandmother were jailed for child cruelty in 2015.

Coroner Mairin Casey told Nottingham Coroner's Court "information was withheld" months before she died.

It is thought at least 10 safeguarding referrals were made about Shanay. A post-mortem report showed she had more than 50 injuries to her body.

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

Mrs Casey said: "There is evidence that information was withheld from the local authority in the months before she died.

"Communication channels failed miserably between the school, local authority and health professionals."

Dr Emma Fillmore, a consultant paediatrician told the inquest she had no contact with the seven-year-old, but gave an overview of the case.

She said, given the evidence of her injuries, all the professionals involved should have met to discuss it and that such a meeting would happen now.

Lisa Hyland, of Southglade Primary School, said she had suspicions someone was "deliberately causing injuries" to Shanay, the inquest had heard.

The assistant head teacher, who taught Shanay a year before her death, said she reported her concerns on six occasions.

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

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

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

Morris, of Beckhampton Road, was cleared of murder but both she and grandmother Juanila 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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