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Lessons not learned from Victoria Climbie tragedy, says mother

PUBLISHED: 13:04 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:06 07 September 2010

THE mother of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie – tortured to death in Haringey in 2000 – says lessons have still not been learned from the case. Various agencies, including Haringey Council s child protection services, failed to act on signs that Victoria

THE mother of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie - tortured to death in Haringey in 2000 - says lessons have still not been learned from the case.

Various agencies, including Haringey Council's child protection services, failed to act on signs that Victoria was being abused by her great-aunt and her boyfriend eight years ago.

Visiting the UK from the Ivory Coast for the first time in five years since Lord Laming's inquiry, Victoria's mother Berthe said yesterday that she was "shocked" lessons from the case have still not been learned.

Victoria's death caused a national outcry and Lord Laming's inquiry into the horrific death led to a government green paper in 2003 to prevent a similar tragedy happening in the UK again.

Mrs Climbie said: "When you lose a child it is never easy. At first it makes your heart bleed and gradually you have to try to forget what has happened and pray for the person's soul.

"At the end of six months there were many things that were learned from the green paper, to stop this happening again."

But she criticised local authorities for failing to fully implement Lord Laming's recommendations, despite changes in the law.

She added: "They gave their word, but they did not live up to their responsibilities. This is heartbreaking as children are still dying."

Lord Laming backed Mrs Climbie's calls: "I still don't have full confidence in the abilities of social services to protect children who are known to them," he said.

In April 1999, Victoria was sent by her mother from the Ivory Coast to her great-aunt Marie-Therese Kouao in London so that she could receive a British education, but just 10 months later she died at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington with 128 separate injuries.

Kouao and Carl Manning were sentenced to life imprisonment for her murder.


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