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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 September, 2004, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Climbie social worker 'to appeal'
Former social worker Lisa Arthurworrey
Lisa Arthurworrey has expressed regret over her role in the case
The social worker responsible for the welfare of murdered eight-year-old Victoria Climbie intends to appeal against her dismissal.

Lisa Arthurworrey was dismissed for gross misconduct and subsequently banned from working with children.

In her first interview, Ms Arthurworrey admits to her failings and says she regrets the decisions that she made.

She says her managers and misleading medical reports let her down and thinks "of Victoria every time I see a child".

Victoria died in February 2000, with 128 marks and scars on her body and suffering from malnutrition.

Her great aunt Marie Therese Kouao and the woman's boyfriend Carl Manning are serving life sentences for her murder.

'Horrible abuse'

As a junior social worker with Haringey Social Services, Ms Arthurworrey was responsible for Victoria's welfare.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "This is something that has never left me. It is with me every single day and it will be with me for the rest of my life.

This is something that has never left me - it is with me every single day and it will be with me for the rest of my life
Lisa Arthurworrey

"I have suffered a breakdown. I think of Victoria every time I see a child. She is there all the time. I did not save her, which is what I was paid to do.

"This little girl had suffered all forms of the most horrible abuse. My job was to protect children."

She accepts she made mistakes but argues she was duped by Kouao and Manning, misled by medical reports and badly advised by her managers.

She claimed a doctor at the North Middlesex hospital, where the child was cared for, had said the marks on Victoria's body did not suggest physical abuse.

In reality, before her death Victoria had been beaten with a hammer, a belt and looped wire, kept in a bath-tub and tied up in a bin liner for days on end.

Ms Arthurworrey admitted she and her manager had only "skim read" a medical report from the hospital which was left in her pigeon-hole, because it was hard to read.

She said the partly hand-written, 19-page fax had been accompanied by a letter from a consultant paediatrician.

'Social problems'

According to the former social worker, the letter - which she took to be "definitive" - blamed the marks on Victoria's body on the skin condition scabies, rather than physical abuse.

This tallied with information provided by Victoria's great aunt, whom Ms Arthurworrey had considered to be a "caring" person "trying to do her best" for the child.

On this basis, Ms Arthurworrey said her former manager had instructed her to concentrate on re-housing the then homeless family, to sort out their "social problems".

Victoria Climbie
Victoria was the victim of one of Britain's worst child abuse cases

She admits it was a mistake not to read the faxed medical report, which detailed how Victoria's face and hands were "swollen and covered with marks", and said the girl had tried to cut herself with a razor blade.

It also said Kouao had been "desperate" to leave Victoria with a child minder permanently and was noted to have spoken "harshly" to the girl.

Following the case Ms Arthurworrey was sacked for gross misconduct.

Her name was then added to the Protection of Children Act List, banning her from working with children.

She is now appealing against both of those decisions.

Lisa Arthurworrey
"I think about Victoria every single day"


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