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Last Updated: Monday, 4 October, 2004, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Climbie social worker fights sack
Lisa Arthurworrey
Lisa Arthurworrey has admitted failings in Victoria's case
The social worker responsible for the welfare of murdered eight-year-old Victoria Climbie has begun an appeal against her dismissal.

An employment tribunal is hearing Lisa Arthurworrey's challenge against her dismissal for gross misconduct by Haringey Council, north London.

Ms Arthurworrey, who claims she was made a scapegoat, is now banned from working with children.

Victoria died in 2000, malnourished and with 128 marks and scars on her body.

Duped and misled

The child's great aunt, Marie Therese Kouao, and Kouao's boyfriend, Carl Manning, are serving life sentences for her murder.

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.

Marie Theresa Kouao with Victoria Climbie
Victoria was tortured and murdered by her aunt
Ms Arthurworrey, who was a junior social worker with Haringey Social Services, took over Victoria's case six months before her death.

She has admitted failings in the case and said she regrets decisions she made.

But she claims she was duped by Kouao and Manning, misled by medical reports and badly advised by her managers.

Culture of incompetence

Representing the 35-year-old at the central London tribunal, Rhory Robertson said she had only just 'woken up' to the fact that she had been made a scapegoat.

He said: "It is the applicant's case that she was on the lowest rung at Haringey. That there was a culture at Haringey of incompetence. That there was a failure to supervise. A failure to train.
She was made a scapegoat for Haringey's pitiful failures
Ms Arthurworrey's legal representative Rhory Robertson

"That there were no proper procedures in place and it was an endemic culture."

He added: "She has been made a scapegoat for Haringey's pitiful failures.

"It is now that she is able to say 'when I look at the way I have been treated I have been scapegoated'.

"In a nutshell that is her case."

Lost opportunities

A public inquiry into Victoria's death chaired by Lord Laming found that child protection services missed at least 12 chances to save her life.

The tribunal bench will spend the rest of Monday reading sections of the report.

They will also read a report by Bernard Monaghan, who carried out an inquiry for Haringey Council, which led to Ms Arthurworrey's dismissal in November 2002

Ms Arthurworrey was sacked for gross misconduct and her name added to the Protection of Children Act List, preventing her from working with children.

She is appealing against both of those decisions.

The tribunal is expected to last six days.

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