Neath and Port Talbot Watchdog (NPTW) Bookmark and Share   Welsh Translation

 

The fight for justice against corruption is never easy. It never has been and never will be. It exacts a toll on our self, our families, our friends, and especially our children. In the end, I believe, as in many individual cases, the price we pay is well worth holding on to our dignity.

 

Section Menu 

Links Menu 

Child Deaths Damned if you do' and 'damned if you don't' doesn't apply on this page! More..

Now for todays news!

Nasty Men!

Nasty Brexit!

Nasty Trump!

Thats All!

I think the BBC, Sky and all the rest of the crap UK TV news channels are suffering from some sort of 'PC Phobia'. After all they accuse us of suffering a mental illness (Phobia) if you say anything against Homosexuals, Transvestites, Feminists, the Royal Family or even Sir Mo Farah who now wants to be known as Sir Mohamed by the way.

Courtney Crockett aged 3

Manchester Social Services
Social workers said she wasn't at any risk?

Social Workers condemned over the death a three-year-old girl
Daily Mail
December 15 2005
By Michael Seamark and Rebecca Camber

Please also read...A letter from her father

A FATHER yesterday condemned social workers over the death of his three-year-old daughter at the hands of a sadist who inflicted over 100 injuries on her body.

Courtney Crockett was beaten black and blue by Gareth Rees during a sustained bout of violence after he moved in with her mother last Christmas.

Courtney’s natural father Paul phoned social services days before she died after noticing extensive bruising on the child’s face and bottom.

But the social worker was on holiday and never returned his call – and Courtney died the following week.
Mr Crockett, 24, said: ‘The bruises were black and blue. They looked awful.

‘I tried to phone social services but the social worker was not there at the time because it was the Christmas holidays. She never called me back. I just wish they had done something about it before it was too late.’

Courtney’s grandmother Carol Crockett, 53, said: ‘Social services have not learned any lessons as far as Victoria Climbie and other children who have been in similar situations are concerned.

‘They can’t just leave children in situations like that and not do anything about it.

‘They should have acted and if they had done Courtney would not have died. She would have been protected.’

Details of Courtney’s tragic final days emerged after Rees, 21, was jailed for ten years at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday.

He admitted manslaughter and child cruelty against Courtney and cruelty against a five-year-old child who survived his violent outbursts.

Police believe Courtney died following a two-week period in which Rees either kicked, punched or swung the little girl by the legs and slammed her head against the wall.

Courtney’s mother Sandra Bennell, 24, had turned a blind eye to what was happening and left the child in Rees’s care at her home in Baguley, Greater Manchester, so she could go out ‘boozing and taking drugs’. She was jailed for three years after admitting child cruelty against the same girls. Ironically, at the suggestion of her social workers, Bennell had agreed a few weeks before Courtney’s death to attend a ‘parenting’ course. But by then her daughter was dead.

Rees and Bennell met late last year and the man known to Courtney as ‘Daddy Gareth’ moved in on December 17.
Within days, his reign of abuse began. Police said that, among his catalogue of cruelty, he treated Courtney as a ‘human remote control’ for the TV.

If she didn’t change the channel quickly enough, Rees would hit her with a baton he called his ‘decorating stick’ made from a cardboard tube.

He would tie her to a radiator with scarves before kicking and hitting her.
The former hospital porter told the other child he attacked that he would break her fingers if she told police what happened.

The five-year-old, whose identity has been protected by the judge, had extensive bruising and injuries to her neck, back, legs and torso.

The court heard that Courtney was subjected to repeated acts of violence in the ten days before her death.

Bennell even put make-up on her daughter’s face to disguise her injuries and witnesses who commented about a massive bruise across the girl’s forehead after one assault were told she had been in a car crash.

On Christmas Day and Boxing Day, she complained to Rees’s relatives, who were visiting the house, about a sore bump on her head. But the fatal blow occurred on December 29.

Despite her injuries, Courtney was not taken to hospital until January 3 and only at a worried neighbour’s insistence. She died two days later. The cause of death was brain damage but a Home Office pathologist discovered scores of injuries to the child.

Judge Clement Goldstone said there was no suggestion that Bennell harmed Courtney herself. But he accused her of ‘not seeking to exercise any parental responsibility and, at the very least, turning a blind eye to the ill-treatment to which the child was being subjected on an ever-increasing basis’.

He said Christmas should have been a time of happiness and excitement for Courtney. But ‘nothing could have been further from reality’ as a result of the ‘despicable and appalling offences’ and ‘torture’ of a defenceless child.

He described an ‘incremental’ build-up of violence by Rees as increasing ‘like a gathering storm.’

The judge said social services had previously expressed concerns about Bennell’s parenting skills but were monitoring the situation.

‘Their visits did not see any sign of physical abuse. I don’t think social services could have predicted or prevented what happened during the New Year Holiday.’

Pauline Newman, Manchester City Council’s director of children’s services, said there was nothing to suggest Courtney was at ‘serious risk.’

She added: ‘The conduct of the social worker and other professionals involved has been fully considered as part of the review carried out.

‘No specific failings by the social worker or other professional were identified.
‘This is a tragic case but one where the responsibility must rest with the perpetrator of this horrific crime rather than this being a failing of any of the professionals involved. This was substantiated by the judge’s comments in court.’

Some police officers – and Courtney’s father, an unemployed barman – were angered by the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to accept Rees’s guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter, rather than murder.

But the CPS said the charge was downgraded because it could not prove that Rees – who was also charged with sexual offences against Courtney which were left on file – intended to kill his victim.

A letter from her father of little Courtney Crockett
Manchester News
14/12/2005

Killed at the hands of mum's new boyfriend LITTLE Courtney Crockett never stood a chance. While the angelic three-year-old's friends were all celebrating the perfect Christmas, she was being beaten black and blue. Social Services said that there was no suggestion beforehand that the child was at "serious risk".

As the father of Courtney I would like to make some points clear for all that have read the news today. I and my family are all shocked with the sentence they both received; nothing will ever be enough in our eyes.

Reading your comments on this case I thought I would come out and say something. As for where was I when all this happened, we last saw Courtney on the 28th of Dec 2004 when she came to visit, she was happy and apart from the smack to her bottom there was no other signs apart from the bump on her head from where she fell in the park.

I tried to talk to social services to speak to the person involved with the case, and she was on her Christmas holiday. Yes I do regret sending her back home to her mother but under duress, with her mother phoning for me to take Courtney back to her, if I known it would end as it has done I would never have taken her. I was going to see a solicitor in the New Year for custody of Courtney. All the time I spent in hospital with Courtney I was left with no rights of Courtney, her mother had them all. Yes I do think that is wrong I think if a father that is loving and willing to be a father and has no criminal charges against children should have equal rights.

As you can all probably imagine the hurt and pain I and my family are having during this difficult time. I would just like to say I am ashamed of the justice system I believe he should have got life; justice was not served for Courtney but saying that no time they serve in prison will ever be enough. I would like to thank everybody that has commented on this story your words and thoughts are heart breaking and I only wish it was a dream. Its going to be a tough year again and over Christmas is going to be hard but my loving memory of Courtney will live with me and my family forever. Rest in peace my little angel we will miss you forever.

Courtney's Daddy Paul