Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent agencies missed opportunities to protect baby Alfie Smith

Opportunities were missed to protect a baby in Stoke-on-Trent, an inquest has heard.

Seven-month-old Alfie Smith died in June 2010, four months after he was found unconscious on a sofa.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Dale Anderson had fallen asleep and rolled on top of his son.

Mark Warr, Strategic Manager at Stoke on Trent City Council, admitted the authority had left the child vulnerable.

He told the court a health visitor had expressed concerns about a lack of action by social services and admitted the severity of aggression between his parents should have warranted more intervention.

Last year, a child protection investigation concluded that the authorities failed to protect Alfie from the risks around him.

The court heard Alfie's mother Sheree Smith, 19, had earlier been arrested for being drunk in charge of a child.

She also attempted to stab Mr Anderson, after which Alfie was put in the care of his maternal grandmother Patricia Owen, in Basford.

Smith is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of a neighbour five months after the death of her son.

Despite the violence between Alfie's parents, Ian Smith, Coroner for Stoke-on-Trent said there was no evidence of it being targeted at the child.

The inquest has been adjourned and a verdict is expected on 11 April.

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