UK & World News

  • 3 October 2013, 7:32

Murdered Keanu Williams Case Review Due

A serious case review into the death of a toddler who was murdered by his mother is likely to find authorities missed a number of opportunities to help him.

Rebecca Shuttleworth, 25, is serving life in prison for beating two-year-old Keanu Williams to death.

Birmingham Crown Court heard the youngster, known as Kiwi, was found with 37 injuries after paramedics were called to a house in Ward End in January 2011.

As well as a fractured skull, he suffered a fist-sized tear in his stomach which caused major bleeding.

He had been abused for months.

Following the trial, Jane Held, independent chair of the multi-agency Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board, which is due to report its findings, admitted there were "lessons to learn" from the case.

Shuttleworth, who was sentenced in June, was described as a "monster" by the detective who led the inquiry.

Chief Inspector Caroline Marsh added: "I can't understand how someone could do that to a two-year-old boy."

Detective Superintendent Clare Cowley, of West Midlands Police, described the case as "an absolute tragedy" and said it must be prevented from happening again.

During the six-month trial, family and friends said Keanu was often neglected and wandered around with a soiled nappy for long periods.

Shuttleworth repeatedly explained Keanu's injuries away, saying he had been fighting with siblings or was clumsy.

The prosecution said Shuttleworth, who had attended parenting classes, used her knowledge of the care system to manipulate social workers, doctors and nursery staff into believing she was a competent mother.

Serious case reviews are launched whenever a child is suspected to have died as a result of neglect or abuse.

In August, a similar inquiry criticised Birmingham City Council for failing to properly investigate suspicions about paedophile nursery worker Paul Wilson, who was jailed for life for raping a child at Little Stars Nursery in Nechells.

In 2008, a review into the death of seven-year-old Khyra Ishaq, who was starved by her mother and stepfather in Handsworth, recommended a need for better communication between child protection agencies, among other findings.

Khalid Mahmood, the MP for Birmingham's Perry Barr, said there had been a "systematic failure" of children's services in the city.

"Since 2006, 22 serious case reviews have been published," he said.

"That's huge. People say it's because we're a big city but it's just not good enough.

"There have been five changes of heads in the last five years in the department, so there's no stability, and at any one time, 20% of staff are off sick. Something must be done."

Only last month, neighbouring authority Coventry City Council was slammed by a review board for failings in the case of Daniel Pelka, who was starved and beaten to death by his mother and her partner.