Luigi: public inquiry calls dismissed

CHILD welfare chiefs have dismissed the need for a public inquiry following findings surrounding the lead up to the murder of Ipswich tot Luigi Askew.

CHILD welfare chiefs have dismissed the need for a public inquiry following findings surrounding the lead up to the murder of Ipswich tot Luigi Askew.

Last week a number of issues relating to the support provided to tragic tot Luigi were identified in an independent report into the baby's tragic death at the hands of his violent father Duncan Mills.

Mills, 32, of London Road, murdered the one-month-old baby on May 26 last year as well as battering the boy's mother Samantha Askew on the same day. He is due to be sentenced for the crimes on June 6.

Notable cases of child deaths where social services have had an involvement, such as the Victoria Climbie and Jasmine Beckford cases, have led to public inquiries.

Suffolk's Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) has dismissed the need for a public inquiry in the Luigi Askew case though, claiming the report's 33 recommendations for change constitutes sufficient action.

A spokesman for the board said: “Certainly there is no case for a full public enquiry on Luigi, as there is no evidence of any failure in the system to protect him or his brother as they were being regularly checked by health visitors and other professionals, and that the referral to social care, when instigated, also showed that both children were well and healthy.

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“This has been accepted by Ofsted, the government inspection agency, as well as by the independent review.

“The Jasmine Beckford and Victoria Climbie cases are in no way comparable to this one.”

Among the findings of the report, it emerged that technical failings meant information was not readily available that would have highlighted Mill's violent past to social workers and other health agencies who already suspected Miss Askew as being a victim of domestic violence.

Meanwhile two other separate police incidents involving Mills were not logged as being of a domestic nature.

Should more be done to protect vulnerable children? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

1984: Jasmine Beckford was starved and battered to death by her stepfather, Maurice Beckford. He was found guilty of the four-year-old's manslaughter and jailed for ten years. Her mother, Beverley Lorrington, was jailed for 18 months for neglect. Jasmine had been in the care of Brent social services for two-and-a-half years before she died, after Beckford was convicted of assaulting her younger sister. She was seen by a social worker only once in ten months.

2000: Victoria Climbié, eight, died from hypothermia in a tiny flat in Tottenham, north London, after suffering months of horrific abuse and neglect. Her aunt, Marie Thérèse Kouao, and her boyfriend, Carl Manning, were both jailed for life for the girl's murder in January 2001. A public inquiry into her death began in September 2001, which led to reform of Britain's child protection services.

The inquiry heard that there were at least 12 chances for the agencies involved in her protection to have saved her.