Page last updated at 11:02 GMT, Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Kent baby killer warnings not followed up

Christopher Sellman
Christopher Sellman is due to be sentenced in April

The head of child services in Kent has blamed "human error" after it emerged a social worker was warned about a man who went on to kill his baby daughter.

Christopher Sellman, 24, was found guilty of the manslaughter of 25-day-old Tiffany on Tuesday.

Rosalind Turner, of Kent County Council, said a family member had told a social worker that Sellman's partner was pregnant but it was not logged.

She apologised and said it was a regrettable case of "human error".

Maidstone Crown Court had been told Sellman, of The Hurst, Tonbridge, had a previous conviction for violence and had been cautioned for child cruelty.

He is due to be sentenced for the killing in April.

'Deeply distressing'

A relative, who asked to remain anonymous, told the BBC he had contacted social services on two occasions to warn them that Sellman's partner was expecting a child.

Within 25 days of her being born prematurely, Tiffany suffered a fractured skull and died in hospital after being left in her father's care.

Rosalind Turner said it was a regrettable case of "human error".

Ms Turner, who is managing director of children, families and education services, said: "The death of baby Tiffany is very sad and deeply distressing.

"Kent County Council has worked closely with the Kent Safeguarding Children Board to evaluate the circumstances leading up to her death and what lessons can be learned.

"An independent review of this case identified a missed opportunity within children's social services to share information.

"This was an isolated example of human error. Kent County Council deeply regrets that this has occurred."

She added: "Human error is always a possibility. In this case on a single occasion a member of the family mentioned to the social worker that Christopher Sellman's partner was pregnant.

"The social worker, who had a 30-year career with an exemplary record, was not dealing directly with the young woman who was pregnant and this information did not get registered. We deeply regret this."



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SEE ALSO
Agencies 'warned' of baby killer
16 Mar 10 |  Kent
Father guilty of killing daughter
16 Mar 10 |  Kent

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