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Review to highlight missed chances
A serious case review is today expected to reveal how child protection agencies missed opportunities to intervene over a two-year-old boy who was beaten to death by his cruel mother.
Keanu Williams was pronounced dead after paramedics were called to a flat in Birmingham on January 9, 2011.
The toddler's body showed 37 external marks of injury, including a fractured skull and massive tear in his stomach, with the level of violence inflicted on the youngster described by even experienced West Midlands Police detectives as "horrifying".
Earlier this year, his mother Rebecca Shuttleworth, formerly of Hay Mills, Birmingham, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years after her conviction for the brutal murder and four counts of child cruelty following a trial.
Her partner Luke Southerton was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter but convicted of child cruelty and given a nine-month suspended jail term and 200 hours unpaid work.
Both Shuttleworth and Southerton were known to police and social services before Keanu's death.
In evidence during the Birmingham Crown Court trial, family and friends described how Keanu was often neglected and left to wander in a soiled nappy for long periods.
Senior detectives working on the case described Shuttleworth as a "monster".
Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board has now completed an independent review into Keanu's death which will be published later and is expected to detail the contact he and the family had with various agencies, including social services.
Earlier this year, the board's independent chairman Jane Held said it was obvious those agencies would have "lessons to learn".
Following the trial she said: "It is clear professionals in the different agencies involved missed a significant number of opportunities to intervene and take action."
Serious case reviews are carried out as a matter of course where a child is suspected to have died as a result of neglect or abuse.
Recent case reviews, including that of Coventry schoolboy Daniel Pelka who was beaten to death by his mother and stepfather in March 2012, have all identified failures in inter-agency communication.
However, a string of similar recommendations from a long list of such reviews recently prompted a wider debate about whether a change in law is required to make it a legal duty for health professionals, teachers and child protection workers to report any suspicions of abuse or neglect.