1. Troyhand said:

    Glasgow Herald – 28 March 1981
    Social workers under fire over baby’s squalid death

    A baby boy died freezing and starving in appalling squalor after social workers had taken no positive action to save him, according to a report published yesterday.

    Five months before 14-month-old Malcolm Page died one social worker had seen him lying in a stinking bedroom in urine-soaked clothes and bedding. However, the “chronic problems” of the tragic case were not analysed properly despite obvious indications, the report claims.

    The bitter attack on Essex County Council social workers comes in the 70-page document by child-abuse watchdogs.

    The report follows a year-long inquiry by a team from the independent Essex area review committee. It details the suffering of Malcolm, his brother, Simon, now six, and sisters Suzanne, four, and Samantha, eight, which brought their parents, Peter and Edwina Page, one-year jail sentences for willful neglect.

    A health visitor was “horrified” by what she saw at the Page home in Tillet Place, Tilbury, Essex. The rooms were caked in filth, dried urine and excrement. The children were unwashed and clad in dirty, stinking clothes.

    The social workers warned Mrs Page, 25, in March, 1978, that unless home conditions improved dramatically the children would be “removed.”

    However, the decision to leave the children at home, even at that early stage, was not made with full discussion at a case conference. Nor was it based on a thorough assessment of the case, the report says.

    The children were not medically examined, no steps were taken to ensure home conditions improved.

    The report says the initial action by social workers “took no account of the evidence available, which indicated a chronic problem.”

    During visits by the social worker and home help in August 1978 excrement and urine were found in the children’s bedding. Yet the Pages, the report says, received the “same ambiguous message” – the social worker was concerned and urged improvements, but took no positive action. If it had been taken, the report notes, the tragedy may have been avoided.

    Then came the visit to the bedroom, with Malcolm, then only nine months, and Suzanna, lying soaked in urine. Again no positive action was taken.

    A fourth case conference took place in November, 1978, but the report condemns it as “a failure.”

    On February 7, 1979, Malcolm died of hypothermia and malnutrition in a freezing bedroom – a victim of chronic under-nourishment.

    Six different social workers had been involved in the case, with one calling at the house nearly 50 times, but no one prepared an adequate assessment, the report says.

    ***The deputy director of Essex social services, Mr Keith Hall***, said the report was being “urgently considered.”

  2. Troyhand said:

    Daily Mail – 4 May 2013
    Stuart Hall’s younger brother was cleared of indecently assaulting 13-year-old girl

    Stuart Hall’s younger brother was cleared of indecently assaulting a 13-year-old girl after a three-day trial in 1991.

    Within minutes of the verdict, ***Keith Hall quit his job as deputy director of Essex Social Services, which he had held for 12 years.***

    It was alleged during the trial that Mr Hall, then 56, fondled the girl in his office in Chelmsford and on another occasion while her mother, with whom he was having an affair, sat unaware in the same car.

    The girl alleged that Hall tried to kiss her up to 20 times between July 1989 and February 1990.

    Summing up at Norwich Crown Court, Judge Michael Hyam told the jury: ‘It is dangerous for you to convict on the evidence of the girl alone in the absence of corroboration.

    ‘You have to decide whether it is likely a man of Mr Hall’s character would commit the offence.’

    Mr Hall, of Stanway, near Colchester, who was chairman of the Essex child protection committee for two years, was unanimously acquitted.

    He had denied the allegations, describing them as ‘nonsense’.

    He said his relationship with the girl had been ‘normally affectionate’ and fatherly.

    His wife Marjorie, who stood by him, said they had received tremendous support from friends and family, including his brother.

    After the case, Mr Hall said: ‘I am delighted with the result. Justice has been done.

    ‘I had the confidence of a man who was innocent and I was confident in British justice.’

    He said he felt no bitterness to the girl and that his marriage was still strong.

    ‘I think most marriages have problems from time to time,’ he said.

    ‘My marriage has always been strong and will continue to be.’

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