William Eichler 29 January 2024

Worcestershire council contacted 36 times before child’s death

Worcestershire council contacted 36 times before child’s death  image
Image: West Mercia Police.

Worcestershire County Council was contacted multiple times about the welfare of nine-year-old Alfie Steele, who was killed by his mother and her partner three years ago.

Alfie died in Droitwich on 18 February 2021 as a result of abuse by his mother, Carla Scott and her partner, Dirk Howell.

Ms Scott was convicted of manslaughter and child cruelty in 2023 and Mr Howell was convicted of murder and child cruelty. Both have received custodial sentences.

A BBC investigation has revealed that Worcestershire CC was contacted 36 times between 2018 and 2020 by people worried about Alfie’s safety and West Mercia Police were contacted 28 times over the same period.

A Child Safeguarding Practice Review has highlighted learning points, practice considerations and recommendations, which the council says have been introduced into best practice by the Safeguarding Partnership and its partner agencies.

Stephen Eccleston, independent chair of Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Partnership, said: ‘On behalf of the partnership, I would like to express our heartfelt condolences to all those who knew Alfie and thank the family for their involvement in this review.

‘Professionals from a number of agencies were involved with Alfie over an extended period of time. This report reflects the amount of contact professionals were having with Alfie, his carers, and the local community, and has identified those occasions where practice should have been stronger. We are therefore grateful to the independent reviewer for their objective and clear report.’

He added: ‘The review also found that professionals involved with Alfie were hard working, showed care and commitment to Alfie and the family, but were often hampered by two adults who sought to deliberately lie, mislead, and cover up what was happening to this little boy.’

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