Page last updated at 19:58 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

Inquiry into deaths of brothers

Delayno (left) and Romario Mullings-Sewell
The bodies of the two boys were found on Wednesday night

Investigations involving police, social services and health workers are under way after the deaths of two young brothers in Manchester.

The bodies of Romario Mullings-Sewell, aged two, and his three-month-old brother, Delayno, were found at a house in Cheetham Hill on Wednesday evening.

Their 21-year-old mother has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Police visited the house hours before finding the boys, who were known to social services and the local NHS.

The police watchdog is to investigate Greater Manchester Police's response to calls made in the hours before two young boys were killed.

Officers were first called at about 1320 GMT by a GP who raised concerns for the family's welfare after being visited by the mother.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers arrived at the house on Kilmington Drive at about 1450 GMT after being given a number of different addresses.

It is in the public's, police and family's interest that we establish what happened
IPCC spokesperson

There was no answer at the door, so officers searched the nearby area and made significant efforts to trace the mother, the force said.

Det Supt Shaun Donnellan said officers were later called back to the property later at about 1745 GMT.

They forced their way in and found the boys, who had both been stabbed in the abdomen.

"It's impossible to try to understand what they were faced with other than to say it's something no human being should ever have to see in their life," said the detective.

After assessing the circumstances, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said on Thursday night it would be conducting an investigation into the handling of the earlier calls.

"It is in the public's, police and family's interest that we establish what happened," a spokesperson said.

As more information about events leading up to the deaths emerged, Manchester City Council confirmed the family were known to its Children's Services department.

Det Supt Shaun Donnellan talks to reporters about the deaths

The local authority confirmed the boys were not and never had been on the child protection register.

Social worker involvement ended at some point before their deaths.

Pauline Newman, Director of Children's Services, said: "This is an appalling tragedy and we offer our sincere condolences to the family and family friends of these two young children."

Mrs Newman said she was consulting senior staff team to consider the "nature, extent, and appropriateness" of her department's involvement with the family.

An independently chaired multi-agency serious case review will also involve the local NHS, it emerged on Thursday night.

Laura Roberts, Chief Executive of NHS Manchester, said the family were receiving support from unspecified NHS services in the city.

"We are shocked and saddened by this tragedy and wish to express our deepest sympathy to those affected," said Mrs Roberts.

'Lovely' mother

In a statement, the boys' family said they were struggling to come to terms with the tragic events and the deaths of two "beautiful, innocent boys".

Their father, who lived at a different address, is being given counselling, as are the officers who found the bodies.

A childminder, who last looked after the boys on 15 October, spoke of them as "lovely" and of their mother as a "very good mother".

Maria Cunnigham told the BBC: "There were no warning signs. The children were beautiful. Very loving and cuddly. Very smart, very clean. There were no warning signs at all."

Post-mortem tests to confirm the cause of the boys' deaths were being carried out on Thursday night and investigations are ongoing.



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13 Nov 08 |  Manchester

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