Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 15:07 UK

Brandon Muir report at-a-glance

An independent report has been published into the death of 23-month-old Dundee toddler Brandon Muir.

Robert Cunningham, who was Brandon's mother's boyfriend, is serving a 10 year sentence for the culpable homicide of the boy.

Here are some of the key points of the reviews carried out by social work consultant Jimmy Hawthorn and former Fife Chief Constable Peter Wilson.


  • The violent attack Robert Cunningham carried out on Brandon Muir could not have been predicted.
  • Robert Cunningham had only been living with Brandon and his mother, Heather Boyd, for the three weeks prior to the boy's death, therefore there was not enough time for child protection services to act.
  • Social workers had been in contact with Heather Boyd over concerns about her care of another child.
  • Ms Boyd's parents had contacted social workers with concerns about her parenting skills and relationship with Robert Cunningham, who they had seen be violent to another partner.
  • There had been no evidence of Ms Boyd's prostitution or drug use.
  • Robert Cunningham was known to police, social work services and the Children's Reporter through his alleged involvement in violence towards a previous partner.
  • During a conversation between Ms Boyd and social workers about allegations that Cunningham was violent towards his previous partner she "smirked" and did not take them seriously.
  • When social workers visited the family home they found Brandon did not have any blankets on his bed and that he was wet and needing changed.
  • When health visitors dropped by, they raised concerns about the way Brandon was walking. They also noticed a scab on his eye and the possibility was raised that it could be a cigarette burn. They were also worried about the way he craved attention.
  • There were no "red lights or alarms" surrounding Brandon during the initial meeting between social workers, health and police staff to discuss the case. However, that meeting was not told of Cunningham's previous police history; the allegations of assault by his former partner; Cunningham's threats towards a social worker; and Ms Boyd's previous police history.
  • There were "important examples" where information about Ms Boyd's family situation was not recorded and shared between different agencies.
  • The workloads of the health visiting team and social workers was high and they both faced significant staffing pressures and vacancies.


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