Inquiry into hanged girl, 8

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The Independent Online

A thorough investigation will be held into how an eight-year-old girl on the books of social services came to be found hanged in her bedroom, Nottinghamshire County Council said yesterday.

Charlotte Moody, who had severe learning difficulties, was found hanged by her parents at their home in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, on Saturday morning.

The youngster was known to social services, as was her mother Susan Moody, who was in care as a child.

Neither the 24-year-old, nor her husband Simon, 32, were at their run-down Edwardian terraced house yesterday.

A bunch of flowers and a Minnie Mouse toy had been left in tribute to their daughter at the front door.

Police said a five-year-old boy who lived at the house has been taken into care, while both parents have been interviewed under caution by detectives.

A statement released by Nottinghamshire County Council said there would be a full investigation into Charlotte's death.

Mick Burrows, chief executive at the authority, said: "We are very sorry to hear of the death of this young girl. It is a tragedy.

"It is clear that our children's services had been involved with her family. We will investigate this matter thoroughly.

"We take the protection of vulnerable children very seriously. We were working with her family, who were receiving support from the county council and a number of other agencies."

Detectives have not said whether the girl's death was being treated as suspicious. But sources close to the investigation said it appears to have been a tragic accident.

There had been speculation among neighbours that Charlotte died in a freak accident after skipping in her bedroom, but police have dismissed this account as "incorrect".

A council source said it was "standard procedure" to take the boy, who also lived at the house, into care.

According to neighbours, Charlotte suffered from severe learning difficulties.

One 21-year-old student, who did not want to be named, said: "I was asleep when I heard her mother screaming. There were a few police cars, a couple of ambulances and a doctor.

"The mum was screaming and crying her lungs out. Her dad's eyes were all watery like he was trying to keep his emotions in."

He added: "I have been here a long time and they are an all right family. The girl never came out and they were really quiet."

Charlotte was found by her parents at their home in Moor Street at about 9.15am on Saturday. A post-mortem examination carried out at Leicester Royal Infirmary on Saturday night confirmed the cause of death as hanging.

Det Supt Adrian Pearson, head of Nottinghamshire Police's public protection unit, said: "We are investigating the full circumstances of this death with our colleagues at children and young people's services.

"The inquiry is at a very early stage, and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at present."