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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 16:26 GMT
Climbie council accused of 'concealment'
Victoria Climbié (centre) suffered months of abuse
Victoria Climbie's social worker has accused her employers of the "shameful concealment" of key documents relating to the case.

Lisa Arthurworrey expressed "astonishment" at Haringey Council's "defective disclosure" of documents to the inquiry into the eight-year-old's death.

Victoria died at the hands of her aunt Marie Therese Kouao, 44, and her boyfriend Carl Manning, 28 in February last year.

A series of feeble excuses have been offered by Haringey

Jane Hoyal, lawyer for Lisa Arthurworrey
More than 128 separate injuries were found on her abused body. Kouao and Manning were convicted of her murder and jailed for life in January 2000.

Ms Arthurworrey, 32, claims she was made a scapegoat by Haringey Council in north London after closing the file on Victoria a week before her death.

She is currently suspended from her job, and has previously told the inquiry she has suffered ill health since Victoria died.

Haringey Council has already been criticised for failing to provide the inquiry with all the relevant documentation.

About 700 documents which should have been supplied to the inquiry months before the hearings began have been handed over since proceedings started.

The council's chief executive David Warwick has appeared at the inquiry to apologise in person.

Disciplinary proceedings

A statement read to the inquiry on Thursday by Ms Arthurworrey's lawyer Jane Hoyal said: "She (Ms Arthurworrey) was the only employee suspended at the time and felt scapegoated.

"Following the criminal trial Lisa was abused, threatened and hounded from her home.

"Meanwhile, her dedicated and caring employer, Haringey Council, pursued vigorous disciplinary proceedings against her.

Lisa Arthurworrey
Lisa Arthurworrey says she was made a "scapegoat"
"It is with increasing astonishment that Lisa has become aware of Haringey's defective disclosure of key documents which have been filed since she completed her evidence on 26 November.

"A series of feeble excuses have been offered by Haringey, yet it was possible for an avalanche of documents to be found within a few days of the shameful concealment becoming public knowledge and your request for full disclosure."

Elizabeth Lawson, for Haringey Council, said Ms Arthurworrey had in some instances allowed her understandable feelings about the case to override the facts.

"I have been dealing with the question of late discovery and I appreciate that some of the documents ... should have been produced before but large numbers of them are of minimal if any relevance to Miss Arthurworrey's case," she said.

"I do think it is timely at least to remind this inquiry that Haringey has not sought to place all the blame for what happened on Miss Arthurworrey's shoulders."

The suggestion that the local authority had singled out Ms Arthurworrey was "without foundation", she added.


Key stories

Background

THE TRIAL

TALKING POINT
See also:

26 Nov 01 | England
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