Tyne & Wear

Tequiilah Burke death: 'Stretched' social services missed risks, report finds

Victoria Burke and partner Paul Nicholson
Image caption The couple were convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child

Opportunities were missed to identify possible risks to a 16-month-old baby who died at the hands of her parents, a report has concluded.

Tequiilah Burke sustained fatal injuries during a row between her mother Victoria and her partner Paul Nicholson in December 2013.

Newcastle Children's Safeguarding Board said social services staff were "stretched" at the time of her death.

The council's children's services boss said it accepted the findings.

A serious case review said agencies should have made more of reports of past violence within the family.

'Huge regret'

Reports of violence and neglect within the family in the months leading up to Tequiilah's birth should have alerted agencies to potential dangers, it said.

The report made 11 recommendations, including the need for increased vigilance on the part of social workers involved in child neglect cases.

But, it concluded, even if practices had been different, the outcome "may well have been the same".

Director of Children's Services Ewen Weir said: "The death of Tequiilah Burke at the hands of those responsible for her care was a tragedy. The two individuals responsible for her death are now rightly serving long sentences behind bars.

"All the agencies involved did all they could to keep her safe within the resources available to them.

"But there were a number of procedural issues which, taken together, could be seen as 'missed opportunities' to identify the risks facing Tequiilah, and to act on them. This is a matter of huge regret to everyone involved in this case.

"We accept all the findings in the report. The important thing to do now is to make sure that we act on them to make sure that we reduce the risks of such tragedies happening again in the future."

Burke and Nicholson were jailed for causing or allowing the death of a child.

A trial at Newcastle Crown Court heard the couple had argued in the early hours of 14 December, after Burke, 24 came home late from work in a nightclub, and Nicholson, 20, believed she was associating with other men.

At some point Tequiilah was injured by one or both of them. She was taken to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary where she died.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites