UK & World News
Keanu Williams Report: Authorities Failed
A toddler beaten to death by his mother became an "invisible child" who was let down by the authorities, a report has said.
A serious case review into the case of Keanu Williams said his death in 2011 could not be predicted but that he was clearly a "child in need".
It accused professionals involved in his care of failing to meet even basic standards of good practice and said the two-year-old should have been safeguarded by various agencies and made subject to a child protection plan.
Keanu had 37 injuries at the time of his death following months of abuse, with mother Rebecca Shuttleworth sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 18 years in June.
She and her son had moved to Birmingham from Torbay - where friends had anonymously tipped off social services that Keanu was being left in wet clothes and dirty nappies for up to six hours hours and that she was leaving him with anyone so she could go out.
This information was passed on to authorities in Birmingham, the report said, but they did not seem to be aware.
The report stated: "The main finding of the review overview report was that professionals in the various agencies involved ... collectively failed to prevent Keanu's death as they missed a significant number of opportunities to intervene and take action.
"They did not meet the standards of basic good practice when they should have reported their concerns, shared and analysed information and followed established procedures.
"The serious case review panel was in agreement that Keanu's death could not have been predicted.
"However, in view of the background history of Rebecca Shuttleworth ... it could have been predicted that Keanu was likely to suffer significant harm and should have been subject of a child protection plan on at least two occasions to address issues of neglect and physical harm."
The review found excuses given to health professionals by Shuttleworth after incidents of abuse - including a radiator burn to his foot - were not credible.
The 182-page report said: "Keanu experienced a number of presentations to hospital and to the GP, which were all explained by Shuttleworth as bumps and falls due to unsteadiness.
"The last hospital presentation involved a child protection medical assessment which was not undertaken in accordance with good practice standards.
"Keanu was returned to Shuttleworth's care with a burn to his foot believed to have been caused accidentally by a hot radiator.
"Based on the medical evidence, this conclusion was mistaken and therefore Shuttleworth's description on the 'accident' was not deemed credible."
Peter Hay, strategic director for children, young people and families at Birmingham City Council, said the report was a "further blight on this city's reputation because we have failed on our fundamental obligation to keep our children safe".
"For this we are unequivocally sorry," he said.
"We accept too that given our record in failing to improve children's services, our apology may ring hollow..
"The way that the safeguarding board is holding all agencies to account is one of those changes. We do not have enough great social workers doing great social work.
"Part of what makes Keanu's death all the more tragic is that we got so near to getting it right."
The report follows other highly critical serious case reviews into child deaths, including the murder and starvation of Coventry four-year-old Daniel Pelka.