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Boys blinded and paralysed by their sadistic parents sue social workers for £1m each

2nd Jun 2008 | in Child Abuse

Two young brothers left paralysed and blind by savage abuse in the first weeks of their lives are suing social workers for failing to protect them.

One boy, who is now ten, was blinded with "a sharp instrument" and a chemical substance by his parents. He also had his fingers crushed and was left with severe brain damage after being violently shaken.

His younger brother, now eight, is also said to have been attacked within weeks of his birth and was so badly brain damaged he is paralysed from the chest down.


He has to be fed by tube, is blind, has severe learning difficulties and will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life.

Both boys were finally taken into care. Now they are suing for negligence through their separate adoptive parents and demanding more than £1million each.

It is a landmark case which could pave the way for other multi-million-pound compensation claims against councils.

Legal documents prepared for the High Court case state that their father had already been accused of biting and causing serious injuries to three of his older children, two of whom had been removed by social workers.

But, it is alleged, nothing was done by Harrow social services in North-West London to protect his youngest children at birth.

The legal documents claim the council should have known that "no child could safely be left to be cared for" by the parents and that "any child left in a household with these parents was a child at risk of significant harm’. The writ alleges that the brothers should have been taken away from their parents at birth and provides details of the alleged mishandling of their care, including an independent report commissioned by Harrow into the lives of the family’s five children, which found mistakes had been made.

The appalling chain of events began with the birth of the father’s eldest child in 1989.

Police and Harrow social services were called in by the mother who claimed her partner had abused the baby.

The father admitted biting his son but when the mother moved out with the child social workers are said to have closed the family file and then either mislaid or misfiled the notes.

The father’s second child, born to another mother, was admitted to hospital within days of birth with a broken collarbone, bruising, torn skin in her mouth, finger marks around her jaw and septic toes.

Social workers put the new baby on the at-risk register but, according to court papers, they allowed her to return home to her parents.

In the ensuing weeks she was in hospital four more times suffering from septicaemia, swelling of the brain and non-accidental bruising before finally being taken into care.

The couple had another baby the following year and the family was placed in a residential unit in an attempt to help them with parenting skills.

While there, a member of staff heard the father tell his infant daughter. "Shall we throw you out of the window?" but the family was allowed to take her home. Social services records show there were concerns about the child suffering various falls, other injuries and weight loss, but despite this social workers discharged the family from its care when the girl was three.

When the two youngest children were born there was, according to legal documents, no monitoring by Harrow social workers.

The older boy, Child A, was born without any health problems but at eight weeks he was taken to hospital suffering from brain damage and a perforated eye.

An eye expert could find no infection and said the child could have been blinded with "an instrument with a fine point" and a chemical being poured into his eye. Despite this, the baby was discharged back into the parents’ care and social services closed the case. It is claimed he suffered further abuse before being taken into care a year later.

His brother, Child B, was less than a month old when he suffered brain haemorrhages. Doctors believed he had been violently shaken and he was taken into care.

The case on behalf of the boys claims their mother and father carried out the horrific catalogue of abuse against them causing "catastrophic injuries".

Neither parent was prosecuted. The boys’ lawyer, Lynn Knowles, of Bindman and Partners, said social workers should have known they faced a foreseeable risk of harm from their parents and there was a duty under human rights legislation to protect them from inhuman and degrading treatment.

Their father was, it is alleged, known to be a violent man suspected of seriously physically injuring two of his children and emotionally abusing a third. The mother was said to be either capable of injuring her own children or incapable of protecting them from the father.

Last December, Doncaster council became the first local authority to be successfully sued under human rights legislation when Jake Pierce was awarded £25,000 for psychological damage. Mr Pierce accused social workers of negligence for returning him to the care of abusive parents.

Neither Harrow council, nor the boys’ adoptive families, were willing to discuss the case.

Daily mail

Fiona Barton

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