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Wednesday, December 9, 1998 Published at 19:29 GMT


UK

Lauren's welfare had been concern

Graham Sate: Guilty of murdering Lauren Creed

Lauren Creed was allowed to stay with Graham Sate and her mother Sharon despite concerns about her welfare, it has emerged.

The jury at Norwich Crown Court, which convicted Sate of Lauren's murder, heard evidence suggesting that social workers, health visitors, police and probation officers could have done more to help save the five-year-old.

Sate was convicted of attempted murder in 1993. Until July, he was on licence to Humberside Probation Service and could have been returned to prison had he stepped out of line.

Sofiah Baker, who lived next door to Creed and Sate at RAF Coltishall, was reported to have made her concerns known to the police.

Mrs Baker became so concerned about Lauren's welfare that she recorded an interview with the girl to find out why she was bruised after Creed took Lauren to her house following a row with Sate.

"Lauren was not herself. She was very, very frightened. I don't think she clearly understood what was going on," said the 20-year-old, who informerd the police about the tape.

"She was covered in bruises head-to-toe. She had bruises mainly on one side of her face. She had bruises on her arms."

On another occasion, the jury was told that the police were called to a domestic dispute between Sate and Creed on 7 July, but the Probation Service was not informed about the incident.

"As far as we were concerned there was nothing that came along to make alarm bells ring," said a Humberside Probation Service spokesman.

"We were not informed about the events of 7 July. No one contacted us. If we had been aware of that sort of thing then the cogs would have gone into motion.

"The probation officer had met Sate, Lauren and Sharon Creed on a number of occasions. Sharon Creed seemed very relaxed and confident with Graham Sate, and the little girl seemed to be perfectly happy and normal."

Social workers told of tape

Social workers were told of the tape and the incident in July, but, according to Norfolk County Council's social services department, no-one felt that there was a need for quick, protective action.

In August, Stephen Cotton, a GP at RAF Coltishall, saw Creed and Lauren after being contacted by a social worker.

Dr Cotton was concerned about Lauren's "lethargic" manner, her behaviour and an adult's bite mark on her knee.

Concerned health visitors contacted the Probation Service and a social worker interviewed Creed and Sate for the first time.

Creed said neighbours had encouraged Lauren to tell lies about Sate.

The social worker said she had no personal concerns that Sate might harm Lauren.

When Lauren became a pupil at Buxton Primary School in September, the school was given no information that might have given teachers a reason to keep an eye on her.

Lauren, who had until then been to school regularly, made her last appearance at school on 3 October. She was found dead at her home on 21 October.



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