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Council reviews care of hanged girl Charlotte Avenall


Council reviews care of hanged girl Charlotte Avenall

A council is carrying out a serious case review into the care of an eight-year-old disabled girl found hanged. 

Mother and stepfather Susan and Simon Moody were jailed for child neglect over the death of Charlotte Avenall of Mansfield, Notts, in September 2009. 

The court heard social services had known Charlotte was vulnerable but had not made a follow-up appointment after a failed attempt to see her in August.

The county council said the aim of the review would be to find improvements.

'Revolting and squalid'

Chris Few, the independent chairman of the county's safeguarding children board, said: "Charlotte's death is a tragedy. No child should ever die in these circumstances.
 The conditions in which she [Charlotte] died were the most shocking I have ever had the misfortune to see in my career

Det Supt Adrian Pearson, Nottinghamshire Police

"The purpose of this review is to look at the way agencies worked together with Charlotte and her family to see what action should be taken to make improvements in the future. 

"The public can be reassured that all agencies are working together to improve their services and ensure children in Nottinghamshire are as safe as they can be."

Charlotte's mother and stepfather were each given 12-month prison sentences at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday.

They had earlier admitted wilfully neglecting, abandoning or exposing Charlotte in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to her health, between 14 August and 12 September 2009.

The court was told that no-one except Charlotte had been into her bedroom at the family home in Moor Street for four weeks or longer. 

Her bedroom had faeces smeared all over the walls and on the floor, bedding and soft toys. 

Charlotte was locked in her "revolting and squalid" bedroom for 12 hours each night, the court was told.

Learning difficulties

She was so neglected by her 24-year-old mother and 32-year-old stepfather that police officers said they had never seen a room as filthy as her bedroom.
The youngster was forced to use her chest of drawers as a toilet. 

Det Supt Adrian Pearson, head of Nottinghamshire Police's public protection unit, said: "The conditions in which she [Charlotte] died were the most shocking I have ever had the misfortune to see in my career."

The eight-year-old, who had severe learning difficulties, was found hanged from a cord tied to a window and then round a pink bunny soft toy.

Social services knew Charlotte was vulnerable and had visited the family's home in June last year.

But when social workers from Nottinghamshire County Council tried to visit in August there was no-one in. 

The court heard that no follow-up appointment was made, despite the child's school raising concerns.

Charlotte's parents withdrew her from the school after staff reported she was regularly dirty and did not turn up with the right clothes for winter conditions.
It was also revealed social services were aware Charlotte was locked in her bedroom at night.

Officials had accepted the Moodys' explanation that she would sleepwalk and the door was only locked when they went to bed.

Source: BBC



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