ENGLAND – Four-year-old girl known to social services murdered at home

A serious case review is to be carried out after a four-year-old girl known to social services was murdered while at her home in Manchester.

Garthorne Close in Moss Side

Police stand guard outside a home in Garthorne Close in Moss Side  Photo: GETTY

The child, who has not been named, is thought to have been strangled to death in her home in the city’s Moss Side estate.

Her 31-year-old mother has been arrested on suspicion of murder and police have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the girl’s death.

The mother, who is said to have mental health issues, walked into Manchester Royal Infirmary at around 7.15pm on Thursday and “expressed concerns” about the welfare of her child to doctors and nurses.

Staff contacted police, who went to a house in Garthorne Close, Moss Side, about two miles from the hospital.

Officers discovered the child’s body when they entered the two-storey property.

Police and social services have both had previous contact with the family although the last police call to the house was in October 2010. Since then the family has been dealt with by social services.

The chair of the Manchester Safeguarding Children Board, Ian Rush, said “a range of agencies were involved with this family and there is every likelihood that a serious case review will be carried out.”

Neighbour Pauline Taylor, who lives in Garthorne Close, said: “The little girl used to play out with the crowd round this side.

“She was always on her bike, playing out with the other kids. She was a lovely little girl.”

Chief Superintendent Stuart Barton said: “This is clearly a tragic incident and I understand there will be a lot of shock and upset in the community following the death of a four-year-old girl.

“Our thoughts are with the girl’s family at this extremely difficult time.

“We know there is lots of speculation about the identity of the young girl and the cause of death but I want to stress that, as yet, we have not formally identified her and we are doing a lot of work to try and trace all her family members to inform them.

“Similarly, the cause of death is also unknown at this stage and, until the results of the post-mortem, it would be inappropriate to comment further.

“However, what I can say is that, at this time, we are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident and I want to try and reassure our community that there is no reason for them to be unduly alarmed, although clearly they will be upset at this tragedy.

“Greater Manchester Police, along with our partner agencies, is also aware of previous contact between ourselves and other agencies with the girl’s family, and we will be conducting a multi-agency review.

“This is obviously a very distressing time for people, and our primary focus is to establish exactly what happened to this young girl.

“We have a dedicated team of detectives working alongside our local neighbourhood officers and I would ask them if anyone does have information, or any concerns, that they approach one of my officers or call police.”

The incident will also be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.


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