Wales

Pembrokeshire review after blinded baby separated from parents

Stephen Carl Smith Image copyright Dyfed Powys Police
Image caption Stephen Carl Smith shook his friend's five-month-old daughter as he was babysitting, the court heard

A review is to be carried out into a county council's decision to remove a baby and her siblings from her parents after she was injured by a babysitter.

Stephen Carl Smith, 28, from Haverfordwest, was jailed for 10 years for shaking Bayleigh-Lee Taylor so hard she was blinded in one eye.

She then spent ten months in care with Pembrokeshire County Council, despite her parents not being under suspicion.

Pembrokeshire council said the review was in line with safeguarding policy.

During Monday's sentencing, Swansea Crown Court heard family friend Stephen Carl Smith, of Hywel Road, had agreed to babysit Bayleigh-Lee in August 2016 while her parents Luke Taylor and Sophie Reed went fishing.

When they returned they found Bayleigh-Lee "limp and lifeless" and doctors later diagnosed a bleed on the brain.

'Accusations against us'

Smith was jailed for causing grievous bodily harm with intent. Bayleigh-Lee, now four, remains blind in one eye.

The council took her and her two siblings into care while police investigations were carried out, even though police had never suspected Mr Taylor and Ms Reed.

Speaking after the case, Ms Reed said: "I was not allowed to be with her when she needed me.

"We had to go to family court hearings and listen to the accusations against us."

A council spokesman told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "Now that court proceedings have concluded, we can instigate a multi-agency practice forum in line with our safeguarding arrangements.

"This will consider the circumstances in this case and reflect on any lessons that can be learnt to ensure all actions taken at the time were in the best interests of Bayleigh-Lee and her family."

Tessa Hodgson, cabinet member for social services at the council, added: "This is an extremely tragic and sad incident and our thoughts are with Bayleigh-Lee and her family. 

"I welcome the multi-agency review of the case and will await that report and any recommendations that come from it."

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