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Tuesday, 31 July, 2001, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK
Climbie disciplinary action delayed
Victoria Climbie suffered months of abuse at the hands of Kouao and Manning
Victoria Climbie suffered months of abuse
Two social workers who failed to prevent the murder of an eight-year-old girl will not face disciplinary action until they have given evidence to a public inquiry.

Lisa Arthurworrey and Angella Mairs were suspended from duty by Haringey Council following the death of Victoria Climbie.

Victoria, who was named Anna by her killers, suffered months of abuse before she died of multiple organ failure, hypothermia and malnutrition.

A High Court judge said he was concerned that if disciplinary procedures continued both women might be unable to give evidence to the upcoming public inquiry.

Victoria and her great-aunt Kouao
Marie Therese Kouao used Victoria to get benefits
Mr Justice Jackson ruled that because of the importance of the public inquiry under Lord Laming, which is due to begin in September, nothing should be allowed to stop the two women giving evidence.

He was persuaded that both women's health had been affected by the case and agreed that internal disciplinary action against them could make that worse.

Ms Arthurworrey was assigned to look after Victoria Climbie by the child protection unit at Haringey Council.

128 wounds

Ms Mairs was her team leader.

Both women are currently suspended on full pay. They were refused permission to appeal.

At the trial of the Victoria's great aunt, Marie Therese Kouao, and her boyfriend, Carl Manning, the court heard how Victoria had been kept bound and naked in a freezing bath.

Carl Manning
Carl Manning beat Victoria with a bike chain
She had suffered regular beatings and had 128 separate wounds on her body when she died.

In January Kouao and Manning were sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of Victoria's murder and child cruelty.

The inquiry, under the chairmanship of Lord Laming, was set up in May to examine the actions of police, doctors and social workers following the youngster's death in February last year.

It is seeking to find out why professionals failed to save the little girl despite being told she was being abused.

Lord Laming is being assisted by a team of specialists from the police, social care, the health service and paediatrics.

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