Redcar fire death review 'covered up', MP says

Jessica and Philip Braithwaite Image copyright other
Image caption An inquest heard Philip Braithwaite started the fire in which he and his daughter Jessica died in 2011

A serious case review into the deaths of a seven-year-old girl and her father is being covered up, an MP has claimed.

Jessica Braithwaite and her father Philip, 49, died in a fire he started at their home on Hawthorn Road, Redcar.

Redcar and Cleveland Council said the report was not published as it could not be made anonymous to "protect the individuals concerned".

Liberal Democrat MP for Redcar, Ian Swales, said the council was "covering up" its findings.

After the fire, it emerged Mr Braithwaite had been treated by a number of health professionals and organisations for mental illness.

Image caption Redcar MP Ian Swales said the public needed to know what was in the report

"Clearly if they're not publishing a report that's normally published then they are covering up the report," said Mr Swales.

"They've said lessons have been learnt from this case - well, what are those lessons? They've said changes have been implemented - well, what are the changes?"

It would be "really concerning" if the people whose anonymity needed protecting were council staff, he added.

The area's Safeguarding Children's Board chairman Jan van Wagtendonk said it supported publishing serious case reviews, "except in exceptional circumstances as was the case in this instance".

"While we accept there is a public interest in reporting the work of the board, the SCR makes it clear that the lessons learned have been clearly identified and changes in procedures and practice implemented," he said.

The council was asked by the BBC for clarification on the individuals needing anonymity and the lessons learned but it has not commented further.

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