Haringey manager 'ripped up Climbie case note'

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The Independent Online

A social services manager denied that she had closed an investigation into the suspected abuse of Victoria Climbie on the day the girl died from horrific injuries.

Angella Mairs, a team manager for Haringey social services, told the inquiry into the death that she closed the case on 25 February last year without reading any of the details.

At the time, Victoria, aged eight, was dying in hospital from wounds inflicted by her great aunt, Marie Therese Kouao, and Kouao's lover, Carl Manning, who are serving life sentences for murder.

Ms Mairs's evidence conflicted with a statement written earlier, in which she said the file was not closed until after Victoria's death. She had also denied tampering with the file when the investigation began.

Lisa Arthurworrey, a junior colleague, had accused Ms Mairs of tearing up a note recommending the closure of Victoria's case. But Ms Mairs said: "Lisa accuses me of removing the closure form from Victoria's file. I did not do this. I find it inconceivable Lisa did not tell someone in a position of responsibility that she thought this at the time."

Dawn Green, a child protection adviser with Haringey, was sent to the north Tottenham offices to pick up Victoria's file for an internal investigation.

She said she arrived to find Ms Mairs, who has been suspended, and another woman photocopying the file. It was then that Ms Arthurworrey claims to have seen Ms Mairs tear up the note and say: "Let's get rid of this." Ms Green said she could not see what Ms Mairs was doing, but became suspicious because she took so long to copy the file.

The inquiry has been told that Haringey social services is in a worse state now than when Victoria died.After visiting the Hornsey district office, government inspectors said that children were "at risk" because of staff's questionable "abilities and competency".

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