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Tuesday, 11 December, 2001, 15:08 GMT
Council boss apologises to Climbie inquiry
Victoria Climbie died after horrific abuse
The chief executive of Haringey Council, which has been accused of deliberately hampering the public inquiry into the murder of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie has apologised.

David Warwick was summonsed before the inquiry by its chairman Lord Laming to explain why the council had held back hundreds of key documents related to the case.


This is a long, sad and sorry saga of missed dates and missed timetables

Lord Laming
Victoria was in the care of Haringey social services when she died at the hands of her aunt Marie Therese Kouao, 44, and her boyfriend Carl Manning, 28 in February last year.

Kouao and Manning were convicted of her murder and jailed for life in January 2000.

'Acutely embarrassed'

Lord Laming told Mr Warwick he had become increasingly frustrated by the council's continued failure to produce relevant documents on time, which had resulted in extra costs and unnecessary expense.

He said more than 260 new documents were submitted to the inquiry last Thursday after the council's director of social services, Anne Bristow, was ordered to bring every relevant missing file to the witness stand.

Many of those documents were competency assessments on members of staff who had already appeared before the inquiry and who may now have to be called again.


Haringey Council apologises to the inquiry if it believes our actions have hindered their task

David Warwick
Chief executive
Lord Laming said: "This is a long, sad and sorry saga of missed dates and missed timetables.

"You need to advise me as to whether or not the experience that we have had with Haringey hitherto is part of a deliberate attempt, despite your fine words, to actually prevent this inquiry doing a thorough job or whether, to be brutal about it, it is down to incompetency."

'Acutely embarrassed'

Mr Warwick said he was "acutely embarrassed" to have been called before the inquiry to explain the council's actions.

Mr Warwick, chief executive of Haringey since May 2000, said his council had always accepted its share of the responsibility over Victoria's death and since the trial "enormous efforts" had been made to create a safer environment for children in its care.

He said: "Haringey Council apologises to the inquiry if it believes our actions have hindered their task but as I have set out before this has never been our intention."

He said he was unable to provide an absolute guarantee that all relevant documents had been produced but would endeavour to find out.


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