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Review says baby’s death could have been avoided
THE death of a baby who was shaken violently by his father could potentially have been avoided, a review has found.
Six-month-old Theo Davies died at his home in Old Ford Walk, on the Walshes estate in Stourport, in 2009.
His father, paratrooper Jonathan James, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison in December 2011.
Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Board (WSCB) has been conducting a serious case review into Theo’s death and yesterday published its executive summary report.
It says that although agencies were aware of James’ “violent and criminal history”, and that domestic abuse was a feature of his relationship with Theo’s mother Leanne Davies, they had no idea the two parents were living together again prior to the tragedy occuring.
Diana Fulbrook, independent chairman of the WSCB, said: “Agencies believed that the parents' relationship had ended permanently and support was provided to the mother to enable her to care for her son as a single parent.
“At first, the mother indicated that she did not want the father to have any involvement with the child. The situation changed when she agreed to supervised contact.”
The parents became reconciled after James started having contact with Theo. However, the review found this happened without the knowledge of any agencies involved – including the police, armed forces, primary health trust and children’s services. James was staying with Ms Davies and Theo at the time of his death.
Mrs Fulbrook said: “The serious case review considered that the death was potentially preventable. “If the agencies had known that the child was living with both parents, there would have been an assessment of risk to the child and a multi-agency plan put in place to manage this risk.
“The review concluded that there were lessons to be learned in relation to inter-agency working.”
As a result of the review, an action plan has been in place since January 2010 to improve working between different agencies.
Multi-agency risk assessment conferences, introduced in November 2008 before the incident involving Theo, have been strengthened.
Mrs Fulbrook said implementation of the action plan had been closely monitored and “there is evidence that the recommendations have been acted upon”.
She said that the WSCB’s thoughts were with Theo’s family.