Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Friday, 4 September 2009 13:03 UK

Mother's anger after boy attacks

Court drawing of the brothers
The boys pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm

Pressure is mounting on authorities to explain why two brothers in care were able to viciously attack two boys in South Yorkshire.

Both boys, who have admitted attacking the youngsters in Edlington, were well known to police and social services.

A week before the attacks on the boys, aged nine and 11, the brothers had assaulted another 11-year-old boy.

His mother said if police had responded more quickly to that incident the later assault may have been averted.

There are now a growing number of families who are dysfunctional
Iain Duncan Smith
former Conservative leader

She told the BBC: "If they [the police] had done what they should have and taken them in for questioning there and then, what happened on the Saturday might never have happened.

"I'm really angry that it felt like nothing was being done."

She said she had called police immediately after her son was attacked the Saturday before, but an officer did not visit her and her son for 24 hours.

Police visited twice more in the following week and the brothers were due to be questioned on the morning of 4 April.

But they never turned up at the police station, leaving them free to attack the two boys just hours later.

As police searched for them, they were already inflicting horrific injuries on their victims.

Covered in blood

They were attacked with sticks and bricks, one had a sink dropped on his head and one was burned with a cigarette on his eyelids and ear.

The alarm was finally raised when the youngest victim was spotted wandering in a street, dazed and covered in blood and directed rescuers to where the 11-year-old was lying unconscious.

The Edlington attacks have also prompted calls for earlier intervention by social services in family situations where children are at risk of continuing a cycle of deprivation and abuse.

The former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, who has written a book on early intervention, said: "We are seeing a growing level of this dysfunctional behaviour, as there are now a growing number of families who are dysfunctional.

Beware Of The Kids sign
A sign at the home of the brothers who carried out the attacks

"What's happening is... dysfunctional kids [are] growing up and then breeding dysfunctional families themselves."

Children's services in Doncaster have been under public scrutiny following the deaths of a number of children known to social workers.

The fact that the two boys were known to the department will only increase the pressure on the council.

Few details have been released about social services' involvement with the two young defendants and their family.

Court hearings have been told both boys were on the child protection register and both had been expelled from school.

At the time of the attack on the two youngsters, both brothers had been placed in foster care in the Edlington area.

They had only been there since 10 March - about three weeks before the attack.

I am quite satisfied we did deal with it promptly
Acting Supt Ian Bint

People living close to the family home said they had appealed to the council and police for help to deal with the problems the family were causing.

Speaking outside the court on Thursday, Acting Supt Ian Bint said police had actively looked for the brothers after they failed to turn up at the police station.

"I am quite satisfied we did deal with it promptly.

"It's always regrettable when matters like this occur, but if there are lessons to be learned they will be brought out by this serious case review and we will look at them."

Reports are being prepared on the boys ahead of a sentencing hearing, which is expected to be held in November.

At the time of the attack, the 10-year-old was on bail to appear in youth court on two charges of actual bodily harm and one of burglary,.

His brother had received a 12-month supervision order just two months earlier after being convicted of battery.

The younger boy had no previous convictions but did have reprimands for actual bodily harm and common assault.



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