BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK: England  
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, 19 November, 2001, 16:09 GMT
Climbie officer 'feared scabies'
Victoria Climbie, Kouao and Manning
Victoria Climbie (centre) suffered months of abuse
A police officer responsible for the protection of child abuse victim Victoria Climbie refused to visit her home because she was worried she might catch scabies, an inquiry has heard.

Pc Karen Jones, who worked for Haringey Child Protection Team, told the inquiry into the eight year old's death she had failed to inspect the house.

She feared putting her colleagues, her five-year-old child, husband and herself at risk, she said in an earlier statement.

Victoria died six months later in February 2000, weighing less than four stone and with 128 separate injuries to her body.

At the time, I was thinking if she has scabies it would be in the home too

Pc Karen Jones
Haringey Child Protection Team
In January of this year, her great aunt Marie-Therese Kouao, 44, and her boyfriend Carl Manning, 28, were jailed for life for her murder.

Pc Jones was brought in on the case four days after Victoria was admitted to North Middlesex Hospital because the hospital's social worker suspected abuse.

But the officer found no grounds for seeking police protection and allowed Victoria to be discharged two weeks after she was admitted for scalding to her head and face.

She had planned to visit the house before Victoria's discharge to assess the suitability of her accommodation, but failed to do so because of her fears about catching scabies.

'In control'

Pc Jones told the inquiry on Monday that instead of visiting the house, she had invited Kouao to the social services office two days before Victoria was discharged.

She felt she would be "more in control" if the meeting was at the social services office, she said.

But under questioning from counsel to the inquiry, Neil Garnham QC, Pc Jones admitted that the risk would be identical whether she the meeting had taken place at the office or in Victoria's home.

"At the time, I was thinking if she has scabies it would be in the home too," she said.

"It might not be logical but I did not know anything about scabies."

Pc Jones said she had telephoned the casualty department of North Middlesex Hospital where Victoria was staying, to obtain more information on the disease.

But Mr Garnham said he had evidence from all the nursing staff on duty at the time that they had not dealt with such an inquiry.

Belt buckle injuries

Pc Jones also told the inquiry of her decision that no crime had been committed against Victoria.

This was despite hearing of a nurse's concern there were marks on Victoria's body consistent with belt buckle injuries.

The inquiry heard Pc Jones made her decision after receiving a letter from a nurse at the hospital which contained a doctor's diagnosis of Victoria.

The letter led her to believe that Victoria's injuries were accidental so she did not take photographs of the marks on Victoria's body.

She said: "A nurse had seen what she thought looked like a belt buckle. But the doctors had examined Victoria and they had not come up with any concerns, they had not come up with any evidence of non-accidental injury."

The inquiry continues.


Key stories

Background

THE TRIAL

TALKING POINT
Internet links:


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

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


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England 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