Nottingham

Shanay Walker child cruelty inquest: Social worker 'should have done more'

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

A social worker who agreed to let a girl be placed in her aunt's care where she would later be abused and die has said she regretted being "deceived".

Shanay Walker, 7, from Nottingham died in 2014 from a brain injury. She had more than 50 injuries to her body.

Her aunt Kay-Ann Morris was later jailed for child cruelty.

Social worker Christine Baker told an inquest she has been "taken in" by Morris who had "talked the talk and ticked every box".

An earlier 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.

Morris told Mrs Baker that Shanay would be moving into an extended family and that she had several years' experience as a carer for people with dementia.

Mrs Baker said: "I was taken in, I fully accept that."

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

Coroner Mairin Casey was told there were 16 "contact meetings" between Shanay and Morris before the trial placement began in July 2012.

The inquest heard Morris had told social workers about her own violent and abusive childhood in which she had been abused by her own mother Juanila Smikle, who is also Shanay's grandmother.

Smikle was jailed on five counts of cruelty after Shanay's death.

Mrs Baker said she should have thought more about Morris' experiences as a child when assessing her.

She said: "On reflection, I should have done a more robust assessment and I should have explored the family network more for potential risks.

"I took too many things at face value and I'm really sorry about that."

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

The inquest continues.

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