Heavy workload left tot vulnerable to fatal attack says review
Poor practice in Luton's social services department left a 13-month-old baby at risk from his mother's violent partner according to a serious case review.
Medical experts said fatal injuries suffered by little Noah Serra-Morrision were similar to those found in people involved in a car crash or who had fallen from a building.
The child died in November 2015, shortly after his mum had moved into Crawley Road, Luton.
Hardeep Hunjan aged 27, was jailed for life for the child’s murder, Noah’s mother Ronnie Taylor-Morrison was jailed for 6 and a half years for causing or allowing the death.
The review found that Taylor-Morrison had moved around after splitting with Noah’s father, making it difficult for child and social services in several London boroughs to maintain contact,
The review found that although social workers were aware Taylor-Morrison’s new partner had a history of domestic abuse they failed to understand the risks of that abuse being extended to the child.
At the time of Noah’s death Luton’s Rapid, Intervention and Assessment Team (RIAT) had been experiening heavy workloads arising from a disproportionate number of contacts, large turnovers of staff and poor management of resources, the review found.
Taylor-Morrison had previously been under the supervision of Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham councils and contained a comprehensive recoird, says tbe review.
“At the time the staff in Luton thought that it was a full referral handover, with hindsight it is apparent that the risks posed by Z (Hunjan) were not immediately obvious.
“The information was misunderstood and Luton practitioners considered that the immediate risks to child J (Noah) had been res0lved by the mother leaving London and removing them both from the orbit of father.
”The deputy manager did not perceive the possible risk that Z presented and the explanation for this was that there was insufficient capacity to read all the documents provided thoroughly.”
Noah died after sustaining a six inch (15cm) head injury, believed to have been caused by being slammed against a hard surface such as a wall or floor.
He had also suffered multiple limb fractures consistent with being twisted or swung.
The court heard the couple had binged on drink and drugs during Noah’s last hours and blamed each other for his death.
The jury was told in July last year the couple delayed calling paramedics for an hour as they tried to cover up the crime - claiming the child had fallen from his cot.
Hunjan and Tayler-Morrison repeatedly lied to police during interviews and fled to Scotland after being released on bail.
Luton Borough Council says it has now changed procedures to carry out independent assessments.