Leicester social workers sacked over baby attack case

  • Published

Two social workers have been sacked after serious errors were made in the care of a baby girl from Leicestershire whose father caused her brain damage.

Zak Whitlock, 22, was jailed indefinitely for assaulting his seven-week-old daughter in February 2009.

A case review heard Whitlock was allowed to return home to Wigston, Leicester, even though the risks had been discussed at a case conference.

A third social worker was given a formal written warning.

In a statement, Leicestershire County Council said: "Protecting vulnerable children is an important priority for the council and, from the outset, we have stressed how sorry we are that this child suffered such serious injuries.

"These staffing matters are confidential employment issues and therefore the council cannot comment upon the detail.

"However, we can confirm that, as part of the council's formal disciplinary process, we have dismissed two employees and issued a formal warning to one member of staff.

"The decisions are still subject to legal processes and so we cannot comment further."

Grossly misshapen head

Whitlock must serve a minimum four-and-a-half-year years after being convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

During his trial, medical experts said he had shaken his daughter and hit her against something hard and flat, leaving her with a grossly misshapen head.

The 2010 inquiry, held by the Leicestershire and Rutland Local Safeguarding Children Board, was told that the baby, known as Child B, was admitted to hospital four times before this.

On one visit she had unexplained marks to her legs, while on another her ear and cheek were bruised.

The investigation also heard the social workers had been warned by a trainee probation officer that Whitlock posed a risk to his child, but were too ready to listen to his problems and those of the child's mother, and ignored the needs of the baby girl.

Both parents abused drugs and were known to police, while Whitlock had a history of mental illness.

The three social workers were suspended on full pay in July 2010.

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