Keanu Williams death: Mother who beat child to death was 'invisible to authorities' thanks to 'collective failure' of Birmingham child services

Serious case review concludes that professionals involved in care of Keanu Williams failed to meet even basic standards of good practice

A mother who beat her two-year-old son to death became "invisible" to authorities during months of cruelty thanks to a "collective failure" within Birmingham child services, a serious case review has found.

The independent report, published today by Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board, concluded that professionals involved in the care of Keanu Williams failed to meet even basic standards of good practice.

Keanu, who was born in Torbay, died in Birmingham in January 2011 after suffering a skull fracture and a severe abdominal injury at the hands of Rebecca Shuttleworth.

Shuttleworth, formerly of Hay Mills, Birmingham, was jailed for life in June after a near-six-month trial heard her son suffered at least 37 injuries.

Making eight recommendations to the organisations involved in Keanu's care, the review's author said various agencies were guilty of a "loss of focus" after a core assessment made shortly before the toddler's first birthday.

The report stated: "The main finding of the review overview report was that professionals in the various agencies involved ... collectively failed to prevent Keanu's death as they missed a significant number of opportunities to intervene and take action.

"They did not meet the standards of basic good practice when they should have reported their concerns, shared and analysed information and followed established procedures.

"The serious case review panel was in agreement that Keanu's death could not have been predicted.

"However, in view of the background history of Rebecca Shuttleworth... it could have been predicted that Keanu was likely to suffer significant harm and should have been subject of a child protection plan on at least two occasions to address issues of neglect and physical harm."

Excuses given to health professionals by Shuttleworth after incidents of abuse, including a radiator burn to his foot, were not credible, the review found.

The 182-page report said: "Keanu experienced a number of presentations to hospital and to the GP, which were all explained by Shuttleworth as bumps and falls due to unsteadiness.

"The last hospital presentation involved a child protection medical assessment which was not undertaken in accordance with good practice standards.

"Keanu was returned to Shuttleworth's care with a burn to his foot believed to have been caused accidentally by a hot radiator.

"Based on the medical evidence, this conclusion was mistaken and therefore Shuttleworth's description on the 'accident' was not deemed credible."

The report follows other highly critical serious case reviews into child deaths, including the murder and starvation of Coventry four-year-old Daniel Pelka.

Noting similarities with other case reviews conducted in the West Midlands, the report into Keanu's death added: "The standards of practice revealed when some frontline professionals and managers were undertaking basic child protection tasks were of serious concern as several opportunities to protect Keanu were missed.

"The core business of the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board was characterised by inattention to procedures and protocols and an absence of reasonable judgment when making decisions about Keanu in a number of instances.

"From this it follows that the core business of the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board was not functioning well enough to ensure effective multi-agency practice in meeting Keanu's needs."

Additional reporting PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
house + home
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Life and Style
Bats detect and react to wind speed and direction through sensors on their wings
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living