Baby-biting teen had been assessed by social services

A teenager who was jailed for subjecting his baby daughter to acts of cruelty had been given the all-clear by social services just days before the offences were reported.

IPSWICH: A teenager who was jailed for subjecting his baby daughter to acts of cruelty had been given the all-clear by social services just days before the offences were reported.

Social workers had “no concerns” when they visited Kegan McCarville on April 30 last year - despite being called out to settle a domestic dispute with the child's mother, it can be revealed today.

A week later, the ten-month-old girl was admitted to hospital with bite marks to her shoulder and injuries to her chest.

She was also found with bruises on her body, large marks on her back and scratches to her forehead. On one occasion, McCarville was seen poking the baby away with his finger.

A court has now heard how McCarville, of Cardiff Avenue, Ipswich, had that month been assessed under the Mental Health Act.

His lawyer said he had an “inability to cope with parenthood” and suffered from a number of social issues.

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However, a spokesman for Suffolk County Council, which is responsible for social services, said there had been no indication the child was at risk of harm during the visit.

Joanne Eley, mitigating for McCarville at Ipswich Crown Court, said he was not found to be suffering from a mental illness after an assessment at St Clement's Hospital in Ipswich in April.

However, he was later prescribed anti-depressants by his GP and presented to the community psychiatric nurse, she said.

She said: “He had an inability to cope with parenthood. He was 17 when he became a carer for his daughter. He had not had contact with his child until she was ten-months-old.

“He was an immature, vulnerable young man with a number of social issues who finds it difficult to control his own temper.

“He did not bring his difficulties to the attention of social services. They had no concerns, but he could have asked them to assist him a little bit more.”

The spokesman for social services said no review was being conducted into the case and confirmed social workers were continuing to support the family. It is believed the mother, who has not been named, lives in Wolverhampton.

Could social services have done more in this case? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said officers took “immediate action”.

“Social workers have a short history of involvement in this distressing case,” he said.

“They carried out an initial assessment on April 30 last year following a domestic incident between the parents, unconnected with any reports of harm to the child.

“The assessment concluded the young couple would benefit from some support with parenting skills and advice.

“Once alerted on May 5 to injuries inflicted by Kegan McCarville on the child, social workers took immediate action to protect the child, who was placed into care.”

KEGAN McCarville was sentenced to six months in a young offenders' institute after pleading guilty to cruelty and causing actual bodily harm between April 27 and May 2 last year.

But he denied inflicting bruises and scratches, which were also found on his daughter's tiny body.

He has been put on licence for two years during which he must take part in courses on anger management, domestic violence and relationships.

He has also been banned from working with children for ten years.

His lawyer, Joanne Eley, said her client was remorseful, but did not accept the “extent of the violence” he was accused of causing to his daughter.

“He needs some guidance in life and regrets his behaviour,” she said. “He said it was a big mistake.

“Although it was a very young child, one hopes she will not be left with any long-term damage because she was so young.”

Sentencing at Ipswich Corwn Court yesterday, Judge George Bathurst-Norman said he had reduced the jail term because McCarville had sought psychiatric help.

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