Drug addict's killing of toddler 'not predicted'

The violent actions of a drug addict who killed his girlfriend's toddler son could not have been predicted, a report said today.

The finding was published in a review following the killing of 23-month-old Brandon Muir by Robert Cunningham, in Dundee last year.



Brandon died on 16 March from a ruptured intestine following the assault.



Drug abuser Cunningham, 23, was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow earlier this year of culpable homicide and jailed for 10 years.



A review of the case found there was "little opportunity" to prevent the fatal assault on Brandon in the three three-week period when Cunningham moved in with the toddler and his mother, Heather Boyd.



And while it later became known Brandon's mother had been taking drugs and involved in prostitution, this had not come to the attention of the agencies she was involved with.



However, the findings of the review also identified issues affecting child protection in Dundee and made recommendations.



The significant case review was carried out by James Hawthorn, an independent social work consultant.



His findings were backed by an independent report by former chief constable of Fife Constabulary Peter Wilson.



Mr Hawthorn said: "From my examination of all the relevant records in this tragic case, and through interviews of almost 50 members of staff, I have concluded that while the assault which we now know took place on Brandon and which proved to be fatal, could not have been anticipated, there were weaknesses in both interagency working and in practice at that time."



Mr Hawthorn said there "needs to be a higher profile given to the impact on children of domestic abuse and substance misuse".



The sharing of information on drug addict Cunningham was "hindered by time and resource pressures on health visitors, social workers and police", he said.



But he added that the commitment of staff was "evident throughout".



Mr Wilson said the recommendations on the significant case review would lead to a "necessary tightening up of procedures", which he would monitor.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam