A catalogue of failures by a string of agencies have been exposed by a damning review into the tragic death of a two-year-old boy.
As reported in the YEP, Ricardo Munio died after being poisoned by a massive dose of his mother’s anti-depressant tablets at his home on North Farm Road, Gipton.
Now a serious case review by the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) has laid bare a litany of blunders in the years leading up to his death.
They include the “inadequate” response by staff at the school of Ricardo’s older sibling, who were told on six different occasions about physical abuse at home. Police and a housing support worker also left the sibling in the care of mother Sophie George while she was drunk.
Both children had “unexplained injuries” on several occasions and the review says Ricardo’s sibling had been “an invisible victim of abuse for a number of years”.
It adds: “With hindsight one should not be surprised that a serious incident occurred and the independent author concludes that appropriate responses to earlier concerns about the family may well have prevented this tragedy.”
An inquest in March heard that Ricardo was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead just before 4pm on December 11, 2008.
Toxicology tests showed anti-depressant Dothiepin in his system. Miss George later admitted a charge of child neglect and was sentenced to a two-year supervision order at Leeds Crown Court.
The review makes 10 recommendations to the nine agencies involved – Children and Young People’s Social Care, Leeds City Council Early Years Service, Education Leeds, Leeds Refugee and Asylum Seeker Service, Leeds City Council Environments and Neighbourhoods, Leeds NHS Trusts, West Yorkshire Police, the UK Border Agency and the Independent Counselling Service.
Jane Held, chairman of LSCB, said: “We are very sorry that we did not do enough together to support Ricardo and his family or to protect Ricardo.
“The review is rightly critical of all agencies, and we accept the findings fully.
“It is possible that if things had been different an incident such as this could have been avoided. Since Ricardo’s death much has been done to change how we work together.”