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

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home