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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 January 2006, 15:13 GMT
Force probe after toddler death
Darren Bennett
Darren Bennett had a history of attacks on women and children
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is to investigate West Midlands Police following the death of a toddler.

The IPCC is to establish whether more could have been done to prevent 18-month-old Jordan McGann's murder by her mother's boyfriend.

Darren Bennett, formerly of Shard End, Birmingham, was jailed for life for the killing in August last year.

He had a previous conviction of assaulting a child.

Bennett, who had a "long history" of domestic violence, had denied killing Jordan. She suffered a fractured skull from a "catastrophic" blow to the head in August 2004.

'Appalling tragedy'

The IPCC said it would be managing an investigation into the actions of West Midlands Police in the months leading up to Jordan's death.

John Crawley, IPCC Commissioner for the region, described her death as an "appalling tragedy".

"Whilst the culpability for Jordan's death rests fairly and squarely with Darren Bennett, my duty now will be considering whether West Midlands Police could have done more," he said.

Jordan McGann
Bennett claimed Jordan had a fit after falling down the stairs
"I am keen to ensure that this investigation covers not just the consideration of any culpability of individual officers directly involved, but every aspect of the circumstances preceding Jordan's death.

"This includes the role and effectiveness of the force's child protection teams and procedures to ensure that organisational learning is not just identified but followed through."

IPCC senior investigator Malcolm Niblo will be working with officers from the force's Professional Standards Department to assess police contact with Bennett before Jordan's death.

Bennett, who was convicted and jailed for three years in 2002 for assaulting his ex-girlfriend's three-year-old daughter, was found guilty of three counts of child cruelty on three young children, including Jordan.

Jordan's mother, Sarah Collins, was cleared of her daughter's manslaughter but later admitted two counts of child cruelty, including one against her daughter, and was jailed for 18 months.

A review of Jordan's case found there were lessons to be learned by the police, probation service and social services, prompting the IPCC investigation.

Life sentence for toddler murder
04 Aug 05 |  West Midlands
Mother denies baby girl's murder
12 Nov 04 |  West Midlands
Two appear over toddler's murder
09 Aug 04 |  England

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