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."

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
fashion
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
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