Health workers and local authority staff squandered a series of opportunities to protect Logan Mwangi, the five-year-old boy who was murdered by his mother, partner and stepfather, a damning review has concluded.
Staff viewed Logan, whose body was found in the River Wales in the summer of 2021, as having suffered a series of “significant” injuries nearly a year before his death, but did not communicate their concerns.
In retrospect, there was a “lack of curiosity” about the danger Logan’s stepfather, John Cole, posed even after it emerged he had a string of criminal convictions including child abuse, the Child Practice Review said.Read:‘Heartbreak’ as Holy Rood Social Club to close in December
The review found missed opportunities for agencies to share information that could have created a fuller picture of the risks to Logan and concluded that professionals operate in “silos” rather than cooperating effectively.
The review said it meant that Logan’s voice “wasn’t heard”, while the complex and volatile relationships of the adults around him overshadowed “the professional’s line of sight”. The review team considered the failures to be “systemic” rather than individual errors.
At a news conference in Bridgend, Paul Mee, chair of the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Protection Board, apologized for what went wrong, adding: “This review identifies serious failures where agencies could and should have acted differently.”
Jan Pickles, the independent chair of the review, said Logan’s killers had used Covid restrictions to “evade scrutiny”, adding: “The children were invisible; they were in their own homes.”Read:Police ‘taking action’ over issues in Northamptonshire village following Home Office hotel takeover
She said Covid also means “significant changes” have been made to the way professionals work, with remote meetings replaced by face-to-face meetings. “This undoubtedly had an impact on the robustness of the assessments,” she said.
Logan was first taken to the hospital in mid-August 2020 after supposedly falling down the stairs. A doctor saw a number of injuries, including bruises on his face and head, and a blue mark near his genitals.
But Pickles said these were not referred to children’s services. “This was a huge missed opportunity for Logan,” she said. “Had more information from health been shared, it would be more likely to lead to a child protection assessment.”
“We apologize for the failures in our systems that could have provided prior opportunities to recognize abuse and protect Logan,” said Dom Horford, medical director at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board.
Claire Marchant, Bridgend Council’s Head of Social Services, said she deeply regretted that staff were unable to protect Logan.
She said, “We deeply regret that the safeguarding and child protection measures we put in place did not prevent his death. The review has identified that there are opportunities to share information, analyze and work to better manage the risks to Logan.”Read:Unionist politician tried to dilute UK bill aimed at Northern Ireland protocol
The review concluded that Cole was coercive and manipulative as well as having an “extensive criminal history”. “The paternity assessment of John Cole did not adequately assess the risk posed by his criminal conviction,” Marchant said.
The report indicated that Logan, whose father was of Kenyan descent, may have suffered because of his race and ethnicity, but this was not fully taken into account.
“Professionals haven’t fully explored the context,” she said [Logan’s] Breed and race. With the value of hindsight, we know that [Cole] And the [his stepson Craig Mulligan] They held and expressed racist and discriminatory views that one would expect would make life very difficult for them [Logan]. “
The review team also expressed concern about the speed – just four weeks – with which the assessment was carried out when Cole and Logan’s mother, Angharad Williamson, applied to family court for Mulligan, who had been transferred into local authority care, to live with him. they.
During the trial of the three at Cardiff Crown Court earlier this year, the jury was told that it was like throwing a match into a powder keg that Mulligan moved into the family home five days before the murder.
The review said, “This was an extended family unit with complex dynamics… The panel was concerned that this multifaceted assessment was given four weeks to complete.” It is recommended that assessments take at least 12 weeks.
Cole and Williamson were jailed for at least 29 and 28 years, respectively. Mulligan, who was 13 at the time of Logan’s murder, has been held for at least 15 years.
When Logan’s body was examined after it was found lifeless in the Ogmore River, near the family home in Sarne, South Wales, he was bruised, scraped and scratched from head to toe.
The review team made 10 recommendations to local agencies and five to the Welsh government, including looking at a full review of health, social care, education, police registration, information gathering and participation systems.
Welsh Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan said: “We must learn the lessons from this review and accept the Welsh Government’s relevant recommendations.”
Tracy Holdsworth, assistant director of NSPCC Cymru, said: “It is a tragedy that Logan’s voice was not heard during his short life. This must have been a turning point.”
Shadow Social Services Minister Gareth Davies of the Welsh Conservative Party said: “What happened to Logan could have been prevented if the failures identified in this report had been avoided.”