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EDITIONS
Monday, 4 February, 2002, 23:31 GMT
Climbie parents' anger at 'missing files'
Victoria's parents
The Climbies no longer trust Haringey Council
The parents of child abuse victim Victoria Climbie have accused the council responsible for her care of deliberately withholding vital files from the inquiry into her death.

Francis and Berthe Climbie's claim came after Haringey Council handed documents about Victoria's case to the inquiry, five months after it began and on the last day it was due to hear oral evidence.


This upsets us and causes us great distress and is an insult to Victoria's memory

Berthe and Francis Climbie
The Climbies said: "This is either due to incompetence at senior management level today - two and a half years after Victoria's death - or a concerted attempt by Haringey to hinder the progress of the inquiry and purposefully withhold information."

Their eight-year-old daughter died with 128 marks on her body and had been made to sleep naked and tied up in the bath by her great aunt, Marie-Therese Kouao, and her boyfriend Carl Manning.

A spokesman for Haringey Council said it was "deeply embarrassed" after informing the inquiry the new documents were only discovered last week when a filing cabinet was searched.

In a statement the Climbies, who sent Victoria to Britain from Ivory Coast in West Africa for a better life, said they did not believe the council was committed to providing an open, honest account of its role to the inquiry.

They said: "This is further evidence that senior managers are not taking the inquiry seriously and glossing over the truth.

Disciplinary action

"We do not believe that we have heard the whole truth or anywhere near the whole truth from Haringey.

"This upsets us and causes us great distress and is an insult to Victoria's memory."

The Haringey Council spokesman said an inquiry into how the documents were found has been started.

He said it could result in disciplinary action against some members of staff.

"We have always sought to help the inquiry and we have issued clear instructions to all staff to locate and bring forward any relevant material," he said.

"We have carried out a number of searches and we are concerned that this storage area and its documents have not been brought to the current director and her management team's attention before."

Victoria and her great-aunt Kouao
Kouao abused Victoria
On Sunday the Climbies told the BBC they will continue to pursue the people in charge of the agencies they believe failed Victoria.

They said they feel let down by Britain following the abuse and murder of their eight-year-old daughter.

Mrs Climbie said that numerous agencies, including Ealing and Haringey social services, the police child protection unit, and Central Middlesex and North Middlesex hospitals, should have detected the abuse earlier.

She said: "The people I blame, really, are the agencies in this country. This country is seen as a big country.

"The people who should have come to my daughter's support and protection were professionals."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Victoria Climbie's parents remember their daughter
"Her mind was bigger than her age and her size"

Key stories

Background

THE TRIAL

TALKING POINT
See also:

03 Feb 02 | BH
03 Dec 01 | England
03 Feb 02 | England
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