Another day, another social services nightmare – this time the appalling and tragic story of an eight year old girl who turned in despair to her teacher as she was concerned at the apparent disppearance of her mother. Unbeknown to the girl, her mother’s body lay in a locked car roof box in the garden of her home, her skull crushed by a mallet wielded by the girl’s father. Sickeningly, the girl has since admitted that she stood, sat and even slid down the box, unaware of its contents – she stopped asking her father questions after his response was to slap her and send her to her room.
The teacher called Brighton and Hove social services several times, whose eventual response was for a trainee social worker to call the father and ask whether anything was wrong. Unsurprisingly he said no.
Eventually, persistent badgering by the teacher led to a social worker visiting the family home, and the body was found some five weeks after the murder occurred. Brighton and Hove state that a full enquiry will now be conducted, the findings of which will be made public.
But the most terrifying element for me was BBC news coverage which interviewed a senior Brighton and Hove officer. After bemoaning how overworked her colleagues were, with a smile on her face she commented that the case was ‘good’ if it led to procedures being sharpened up.
Somehow I doubt the eight year old daughter would agree with her.