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Worrying echoes of Climbie case as baby's back is broken

PUBLISHED: 20:16 16 August 2007 | UPDATED: 14:37 07 September 2010

By Marijke Peters THE horrific death of a vulnerable baby has prompted fresh criticism of Haringey Council s beleaguered social services department. The 17-month-old baby died on August 3 after being taken to hospital with a broken back and missing finger

By Marijke Peters

THE horrific death of a vulnerable baby has prompted fresh criticism of Haringey Council's beleaguered social services department.

The 17-month-old baby died on August 3 after being taken to hospital with a broken back and missing fingernails.

His mother and her boyfriend were arrested shortly afterwards but have both been bailed pending further enquiries.

The boy is believed to have been on the council's at-risk register before his death and the case echoes the 2000 tragedy of Victoria Climbie, who died after systematic abuse at the hands of family members.

An internal investigation has been launched into the latest incident but calls have been made for an independent inquiry.

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone said: "What is needed is an immediate inquiry because we need to know if there were any similarities. It's not sufficient for Haringey to say it will look into it itslelf, it should be an independent body to give the public confidence.

"No one actually resigned following the Victoria Climbie case, they are all still in post and the idea it could happen again makes me feel sick."

Staff at North Middlesex hospital contacted the police after the boy was brought in with massive injuries and died an hour later.

A post mortem examination at Great Ormond Street hospital proved inconclusive and further tests are being carried out to determine the cause of death.

Haringey's children's chief Cllr Liz Santry said: "We are very sad about the tragic death of this little boy and share the widespread shock. The council is unable to comment on the speculation in the press because of our legal responsibilities and the rights and interests of the child's family. A police investigation is also still in progress.

"I can confirm that a Serious Case Review was immediately put in place, involving all relevant agencies including ourselves, the police and local health bodies. The review is making good progress in looking at the circumstances surrounding the death of this child. A full report will be prepared in due course."

Eight-year-old Victoria Climbie starved to death after suffering months of abuse at the hands of her great aunt Marie-Therese Kouao and her boyfriend Carl Manning, who were both jailed for life.

Lord Laming's 2002 report into the death found social workers had refused to visit Victoria's home for fear of catching scabies even though they were concerned for her well-being.

She had been starved, beaten, gagged and bound and suffered 128 injuries all over her body.

marijke.peters@hamhigh.co.uk

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