Torture boys 'should have been stopped'

Authorities had 31 chances to deal with brothers who brutally attacked 11-year-old

Social services in Doncaster missed 31 opportunities to intervene in the lives of two young brothers who went on to torture and sexually assault a pair of boys in a Yorkshire quarry last year, says a new report.

A serious case review report from the Children's Safety Board, which was ordered in wake of the attack, identified numerous failings by nine different agencies and said 31 chances to intervene were missed over a period of several years.

The brothers, then aged 10 and 11, pleaded guilty following a brutal assault on two boys aged 11 and nine in Edlington, South Yorkshire, on 4 April last year. A court heard how the pair were lured to an abandoned quarry where they attacked them with bricks, sharpened sticks and lit cigarettes.

This is the local authority's eighth serious case review since 2004 and came in the wake of a government order for a major overhaul of Doncaster council's children's services department. It now transpires that the brothers, who will be sentenced this week, were known to police and social services before the attack.

BBC's Newsnight obtained a copy of th report earlier this week. According to the programme, an injunction was sought by Doncaster Council to ban its publication but was overturned yesterday at the High Court by Mr Justice Tugendhat after the BBC argued that its content was in the public interest.

The report identifies key failings in Doncaster, where seven children known to the authorities have died since 2004. Among them were 12 lessons that, the report says, should have been learnt from previous cases in the area in the run-up to the attack.

Some of the report's main criticisms are directed at the council's children's services department, which is blamed for a lack of leadership and accountability. The report also throws the inner workings of Doncaster council into the spotlight. It states that the family of the brothers had been in contact with nine different agencies over 14 years, but a lack of coordination between agencies meant 31 chances to intervene were missed.

The report, chaired by Roger Thompson, says that despite a "pattern of violent behaviour against other children", the two brothers were merely treated as naughty boys.

According to Newsnight, the report said a series of events in 2006 and 2007, which signalled the boys' worsening behaviour went unnoticed. In 2006, one of the two boys was excluded from school after threatening staff with a baseball bat. A multi-agency meeting was held but no action taken.

In November 2007, there were complaints of arson and the killing of ducks in a local pond but no follow-up action was taken despite legal requirements, according to Newsnight.

The programme said the report highlighted the professionals' lack of ability to connect the boys' violent behaviour with their neglectful family background and said they were treated as naughty children. The boys grew up in Doncaster and were moved to a foster home in Edlington three weeks before the 4 April attack, in circumstances described as "chaotic" according to the programme. The full report will be published this week, coinciding with the sentencing of the two brothers.

Yesterday Doncaster council's director of children's services, Nick Jarman, said: "Our primary concern is with the victims and their families at this time. We will be addressing findings of the serious case review once this is officially published by the Doncaster Safeguarding Children Board when sentencing for this case has concluded."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas