Jessica Randall

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Bowser-Mong, Feb 17, 2008.

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  1. The other week a little baby girl was in the news. Her name was Jessica Randall . She was 54 days old when she died at the hands of her father who had systematically sexually and physically assaulted her. The various incompetent agencies who should have looked out for Jessica failed abysmally and not one person was held to account for this failure. Liz Hunt, a columnist in The Sunday Telegraph has summed it up (I have lifted this in its entirety from The Sunday Telegraph:

    None of us knows what little Jessica Randall looked like because no one bothered to take a photograph of her when she was alive. There are no snaps of her in an outsized woolly hat in an incubator after her premature birth, or being cradled in her mother's arms in hospital. Nor are there any visual reminders of the brief period she spent at the family home in Kettering.
    No pictorial proof at all, then exists of a life so short that it must be measured in days-54 of them-to give it substance. I find this fact, although insignificant in the overall horror of her story, unbearably sad. There are, however, numerous pictures of Jessica after she died. On November 21, 2005, after weeks of physically and sexually abusing his daughter, Andrew Randall killed her by flinging her headfirst against a wooden headrest. Her mentally unstable mother, Sharon Park, had gone to bed early that night.
    Thankfully, we will never see those post-mortem photographs, along with the X-rays and reports that document in nauseating detail the 20 or so fractures, new and old, the bloodclots, bleeding and bruises, the cuts and abrasions, that corrupted her underweight frame. It seems it was only in death that anyone became interested in this baby girl, and then only because of the scramble to absolve themselves of any part in her life.
    Congratulations are in order, because last week they succeeded. Following publication of a review of "Child JR Born September 2005 Died November 2005" by Northamptonshire's Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB), the 30 or more health-care "professionals" -including doctors, nurses, health visitors and social workers-who came into contact with Jessica on 11 occasions over 10 separate days prior to her death, can sleep a little easier. None of them was fingered in what is another triumph for our blame-averse culture.
    Afterwards, the talking suits - the well paid executives who headed the local agencies and hospital departments responsible for children's health and welfare - adopted concerned expressions for the cameras and uttered a few neatly spun words about "system failure" and "processes not being triggered". They explained why, after a lengthy investigation, the guilty party is that old favourite, "collective failure".
    Chris Few, independent chairman of the LSCB, enlightened us further, and his quote is worth savouring in full. "I wouldn't say it is anybody's fault," he told a journalist. "There were a number of factors that led to the failure to identify JR as a child at risk. Some of them were to do with systems the agencies were operated [sic], and also, we must remember that within these organisations there are individual human beings and where their core role, the day job, isn't primarily concerned with protecting children, and is concerned with providing support or treatment to children and , in some cases, adults, and its human nature to be optimistic about situations where there's nothing definite to go on."
    It is simply not true to say there was "nothing to go on" in this case. There were numerous missed opportunities, as the LSCB review confirms. From birth, there was concern about the mother's failure to bond with the baby, and the attitude of both parents towards her. Why was no action taken then and who made that decision?
    Bruising was noted on one hospital visit and eye tests ordered, indicating that someone suspected Jessica had been subject to shaking. If that was the case, a full skeletal X-ray is the normal follow-up. It didn't happen. Why not and who was responsible?
    A paediatrician contacted a GP and health visitor because of "welfare concerns". A child protection nurse was told that social worker involvement would "compromise" the health visitor's relationship with the parents.
    Who in social services issued that decree and who was the health visitor who missed the growing signs of abuse? How often did she or he visit? A review of the case of JR's case should provide answers to these questions, not a stream of corporate jargon that fails to reflect the scale of the incompetence of those invoved in her care.
    Contrast the language of of the LSCB report with the words of Judge Charles Wide when he jailed Andrew Randall for life last year. He described the crime as the "most gross breach of trust that one can imagine-a father murdering a tiny, vulnerable, utterly dependent baby".
    There was another breach of trust, too, but noone is being hed accountable for it. The fate of our most vulnerable chlidren seems to depend on a buch of Pollyanna professionals who, according to Mr Few, refuse to belive the worst of anyone.
    No wonder Jessica slipped through the net. How many more will follow her?



    Guess that says it all really, doesn't it? Absolutely disgraceful. The incompetents involved should be sacked.
     
  2. As I said in a previous post,up go the umbrellas,& before anyone says,I
    know it`s the murderous basta*d who killed her is the primary guilty one.
    It doesn`t detract from the fact that for the umpteenth time the social &
    health services fail to do their job.