'Home alone' girl to stay in care

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The Independent Online
GEMMA GIBSON, the child actress found alone in a west London flat is to remain in council care until a court hearing next week.

Any reconciliation between Gemma, 11, and her mother Yasmin Gibson, 32, will be supervised by social workers from Hammersmith and Fulham council.

A spokeswoman said: 'While we recognise Ms Gibson has a right to see her daughter, now is not the right time. We want to take this one step at a time.' Gemma, now a ward of court, was left alone on 1 February when her mother left on a month-long trip to the Costa del Sol. A decision on their future together will be made at a court hearing on Tuesday 23 February.

Ms Gibson, a dancer spent yesterday afternoon discussing her daughter's future with social workers.

Earlier in the day she was questioned by police for two hours. She was later released on bail and driven away from Hammersmith police station by two social services officials.

Detective Inspector Richard Searchfield, of the Metropolitan Police child protection unit, said: 'Yasmin Gibson has been interviewed regarding the allegation that she neglected and abandoned her daughter Gemma. A report will be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service. The courts will decide whether it is in the public's interest to prosecute Ms Gibson.'

Social services and police are trying to establish the 'exact circumstances' leading up to 1 February when social services were first called in. A case conference at the beginning of March will decide whether Gemma will be put on the child protection register.

'As a matter of good practice Ms Gibson will be invited to the conference. We have found inviting parents to case conferences is in the child's best interests,' Denise Platt, director of social services, said.

Ms Gibson was arrested at Heathrow on Tuesday night after cutting short her holiday with a male friend. The night before she had spent the evening with reporters giving interviews. Her daughter, she said, was probably loving all the publicity.