BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 1 October, 2001, 19:28 GMT 20:28 UK
Victoria's relative 'warned social services'
Victoria Climbie suffered months of abuse at the hands of Kouao and Manning
Victoria Climbie (centre) suffered months of abuse
A relative of one of Victoria Climbie's killers twice tried to raise the alarm that the girl's life was in danger, the public inquiry into her death has heard.

Esther Ackah, of Ealing, west London, contacted social services after she was shocked by conditions in the council home eight-year-old Victoria shared with her great aunt, Marie-Therese Kouao.

Mrs Ackah, related to Kouao through marriage, said the Harlesden flat was small, squalid and "not suitable" for a child.


I certainly regard this as the worst I have ever dealt with

Dr Nathaniel Carey
A Home Office pathologist told the inquiry it was the worst case he had ever seen.

The eight-year-old had scars everywhere on her malnourished body where she had been beaten and abused.

Mrs Ackah told the inquiry she called Brent Council's emergency helpline on 18 June 1999 and again a few days later.

Starved and beaten

She said she was given the impression "they were dealing with the matter".

"I made it clear that the child's life was in danger and somebody should go to see her," said Mrs Ackah.

But the calls did not trigger a child protection investigation and Victoria died in February 2000 with 128 separate injuries to her body.

Victoria and her great-aunt Kouao
Kouao systematically abused Victoria
Kouao, 44, and her boyfriend, Carl Manning, 28, were both jailed for life for Victoria's murder in January this year.

A post-mortem carried out by Home Office pathologist Dr Nathaniel Carey concluded that the child died from hypothermia.

She weighed just 24 kilos (3st 10lbs) and was suffering from severe muscle wasting.

The inquiry has already heard that she had been starved and beaten with coathangers and bicycle chains.

She was bound naked and kept prisoner in a freezing bathroom and left to sit in her own urine and faeces.

No accident

Dr Carey told the inquiry: "She was in a very damp environment and her movement was limited through being bound up - all these would act to prevent the body from being able to maintain its temperature."

Victoria's body temperature was 27C, 10 degrees lower than normal.

Dr Carey said this was a "very dramatic drop", and her wasted body could not fight the cold.

Victoria's head was shaved during the post-mortem, which revealed that she had been attacked with a blunt weapon, possibly a training shoe, belt buckle and another blunt object.

Dr Carey said: "All non-accidental injuries to children are awful and difficult for everybody to deal with.

"But in terms of the nature and extent of the injury and the almost systematic nature of the inflicted injury, I certainly regard this as the worst I have ever dealt with."

The youngster's parents from the Ivory Coast had sent her to live with Kouao in England in hope for a better life.


Key stories

Background

THE TRIAL

TALKING POINT
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes