Inquiry into rapist's death blaze 'should not be a witch hunt'
A public inquiry into how a convicted sex offender was able to kill himself and his family in a deliberate house fire should not become a witch hunt, social workers warned today.
Stormont's health committee is considering calling for a public probe into alleged failings in how the authorities managed double rapist Arthur McElhill before he torched the family home in Omagh, County Tyrone.
A coroner ruled this week that the 36-year-old heavy drinking depressive, who was abusing a teenage babysitter in the months before the fire and had a history of suicide attempts, doused the hallway of the Lammy Crescent terraced house with petrol and lit it when his partner Lorraine McGovern, 29, threatened to leave him.
Lesley McDowell, chairman of the British Association of Social Workers in Northern Ireland (BASW), said: "BASW doesn't feel that the public inquiry should be used as a witch hunt looking to blame certain professions but rather as an exercise to look at where failings or shortfalls occurred and to decide on measures that will improve the service offered and prevent a similar tragedy happening again.
"Lessons need to be learned from this tragedy and a public inquiry is needed to highlight them."
The couple and their five young children all died in the inferno in November 2007.
Yesterday health minister Michael McGimpsey said he had asked the author of a report into the tragedy to confirm recommendations he made have been implemented.
Henry Toner QC criticised how different agencies communicated information about the type of man McElhill was.
His review made 63 recommendations in 2008 and Mr Toner has been asked to verify they have now been implemented.
The Western Health Trust has implemented 54 of its 55 recommendations.
Other recommendations were made for a range of agencies including the Department of Health and the PSNI.
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop