Logan Mwangi: report into boy’s murder uncovers ‘systemic’ child safeguarding issues
The review said almost a year before Logan Mwangi’s death thirty-one images were taken of injuries, during a health assessment
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Murdered five-year-old Logan Mwangi’s voice was not heard by authorities during his short life, a review detailing the extensive injuries he suffered has found. The report has identified what it believes may be “systemic” issues with safeguarding children, including a failure to report injuries he suffered months before his death.
Logan was fatally attacked in his home in Llansantffraid, Sarn, Bridgend, before his body was left in the nearby River Ogmore in the early hours of 31 July, 2021.
His mother, Angharad Williamson, 31, stepfather John Cole, 40, and stepbrother Craig Mulligan, 14, were all convicted of murder and received life sentences following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court earlier this year.
A child practice review by Cwm Taf Morgannwg Safeguarding Board, published on Thursday, has made a series of recommendations to agencies involved with Logan and his family before his death.
The report has made 10 local recommendations and five national recommendations following Logan’s death.
These include urging Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board to commission an independent review into its practice and management of identifying and investigating non-accidental injuries in children.
Nationally, it suggests the Welsh Government should consider commissioning a review of approaches to undertaking Child Protection Conferences to help with identifying best practice, as well as the possibility of an annual National Awareness Campaign to raise public awareness on how to report safeguarding concerns.
What did the review say about child safeguarding?
The report detailed how Cole was reportedly a former member of the National Front and would subject Logan – whose father is of British and Kenyan heritage – to racially derogatory remarks.
Cole had previous convictions including assault on a child, possession of an offensive weapon, theft and illegal drug possession, and had served a prison sentence for burglary.
In August 2020, Logan attended his local accident and emergency unit with an injury to his arm, bruises to his right cheek and a fractured upper arm.
A child protection referral was made, raising concerns in relation to the delay in Williamson bringing Logan to hospital for medical attention.
However, social services and police “agreed that the threshold to undertake child protection enquiries had not been met at that stage, on the basis that there was limited medical information”, the report states.
Police checked Cole’s convictions and it was “agreed at that time he was not an appropriate person to solely care” for Logan or Mulligan. Officers attended the hospital as well as the family home, where they were told Logan’s injuries were due to him falling down the stairs.
The report found injuries observed by health practitioners on Logan, referred to in the report as ‘Child T’, were not shared with services that could have taken appropriate action to safeguard him.
The review also highlighted how the Covid-19 pandemic limited the family’s contact with agencies and impacted on the ability to provide “optimum child protection processes”.
“As a result of this extended child practice review, key learning has been identified,” the report stated. “The review panel believes that these issues may be systemic, and not isolated instances of individual error or poor practice.”
The review stated that areas “significantly affected by the impact of the pandemic” included a lack of confidence by professionals in challenging Logan’s family’s potential use of Covid 19 anxieties and symptoms as a barrier to engaging with services.
It said Government restrictions meant that many activities normally carried out face-to-face “which are so vital to accurate assessments and decision making” had to be carried out remotely and that differences in how services operated “limited the level of contact that the family had with agencies”.
What did it say about Logan’s injuries?
Almost a year before his death, the boy was seen by a doctor who noted the child had multiple bruises on his body and a blue mark near his genitals.
Thirty-one images were taken of injuries, during a health assessment undertaken by a paediatric doctor in August 2020, a review commissioned by the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Safeguarding Board said.
Logan’s mother Angharad Williamson told the Health Board she did not know how the mark had occurred. Other injuries included bruises to the boy’s ankle, forehead, ears, arm, cheeks and a carpet bruise to his chin. Williamson said Logan would bang his head, pinch himself and that the mark to his ears was from a mask.
The little boy was present during the discussion between his mother and a health worker, the review stated. He said he had fallen down the stairs and agreed when his mother gave the cause of the bruising to his ears as being from a mask worn due to the pandemic.
He also stated that he banged his head and pinched himself when he got angry. The review concluded that there was no evidence that information about the injuries recorded by the doctor was shared with agencies outside of the Health Board.
The board, which published its review on Thursday, said there had been an absence of one-to-one sessions with Logan outside of his family home.
The review said this was due in part to restrictions during the pandemic, as well as “resulting pressures upon child protection systems at that time, such as high levels of staff absences” due to Covid 19.
The review stated that Logan’s “voice was not heard” and that “the complexities of the adult relationships” involved in his care “overshadowed professionals’ line of sight to him”. There was no knowledge of the reality of his lived experience,” it added.
The review stated that there had been a failure to share some of Logan’s injuries with “services that could have taken appropriate action to safeguard him”. It said several injuries, even in isolation, “should have triggered” a child protection referral. Weeks before he died in July 2021, Logan suffered a broken collarbone but he never got medical treatment, the trial of his killers heard.