Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Ministers clash in Commons over Yorkshire boy attackers

Mr Cameron said the country had been shocked by the attack

Conservative leader David Cameron has called for a serious case review into the brutal attack of two young boys in Edlington to be published in full.

Mr Cameron said the "torture" of the nine and 11-year-old in the South Yorkshire village had "profoundly shocked the whole country".

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said lessons would be learned from the summary of the report into the attack.

Two brothers, aged 10 and 12, are to be sentenced for the attack last April.

The Safeguarding Children Board report, seen by BBC Newsnight, found the attack - in which the boys were punched, forced to eat nettles and had broken glass run across their throats - could have been prevented. It is due to be published in summary form on Friday.

'Appalling violence'

At prime minister's question time in the House of Commons, Mr Cameron said the publication of summaries of serious case reviews (SCRs) into other cases had not led to action on the ground.

Seven children known to Doncaster Council have died in the borough since 2004, prompting SCRs, Ofsted inspections and a government inspection.

Mr Cameron said: "Reviews into murders by mental health patients are published in full. They manage to have the correct amount of anonymity.

"Why do we treat murders by mental health patients more rigorously than torture and potentially killing and murder of children?

"In the case of Baby Peter (in Haringey), the summary was found to be completely inadequate; it was not worth the paper it was written on."

But the prime minister insisted lessons would be learned from the summary of the report into the Edlington attack.

Everyone was agreed about the "seriousness of this case", Mr Brown told MPs.

We're not going to learn the lessons properly unless we get the information out in the public
David Cameron

"For two boys to be assaulted in this way by two other children who were at that time in the care of foster parents but who had a history where there had been social services and other intervention(s) to try to deal with their problems is one of the most tragic cases we could see," he said.

"I do not want Britain to be defined by the appalling violence and irresponsibility that's been shown to the youngsters by two other youngsters."

Every children's organisation has recommended that only the executive summary of the SCR should be released to the public, he added.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: "On the advice of Lord Laming, children's charities and organisations working to protect children, the government believes that full SCRs should remain confidential beyond the immediate partners involved in a case, the relevant inspectorates, government offices and the relevant government departments."

The brothers are being sentenced in a hearing at Sheffield Crown Court that is expected to last three days.

Print Sponsor

Brothers tortured attack victims
20 Jan 10 |  South Yorkshire
Boys' brutal attack 'preventable'
18 Jan 10 |  Newsnight

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific