Logan Mwangi review highlights ‘systemic’ child protection issues | child protection

Professionals involved in the care of Logan Mwangi, the five-year-old boy who was murdered by his mother, her partner and his stepson, failed to take effective steps to protect him, despite knowing he had a number of “significant… The year before his death, a scathing review of the tragedy has come to an end.

The review concluded that Logan’s injuries should have resulted in child protection referrals, and the issues raised by the case could be “systematic” rather than isolated cases of individual error.

There was a “lack of curiosity” about the risk Logan’s stepfather, John Cole, posed, even after it was revealed he had a number of criminal convictions, including assaulting a child and domestic violence, according to the expanded children’s practice.

It found that Logan, whose father was of Kenyan descent, may have suffered because of his race and ethnicity – but this has not been fully investigated.

The review said: “[Logan’s] voice was not heard; the complexity of relationships between adults [his] Concern overshadowed the professionals’ line of sight to him. There was no knowledge of the reality of his lived experience.

“There was a lack of curiosity about the presence and impact of [Cole] and the risks he posed. It appears he was able to effectively manipulate partners and some professionals with whom he came in contact.”

The review added: “Professionals have not fully examined the context of [Logan’s] race and ethnicity on his lived experience. With the value of hindsight, we know that [Cole] and [his stepson Craig Mulligan] held and expressed racist and discriminatory views for which life would be expected to be made very difficult [Logan] within the family”.

Panel members conducting the review also expressed concern at the speed – just four weeks – at which an assessment was being conducted when Cole and Logan’s mother, Angharad Williamson, requested that Mulligan, who was in the care of the local authorities was supposed to live with them.

John Cole and Angharad Williamson
John Cole and Angharad Williamson. Photo: South Wales Police

During the trial of the three in Cardiff Crown Court earlier this year, the jury was told Mulligan had moved into the family home just five days before the murder, like dropping a lit match into a powder keg. The review stated, “This was an extended family with complex dynamics … The panel was concerned that this was a multi-faceted assessment that was given four weeks to complete.”

Cole and Williamson were imprisoned for at least 29 and 28 years, respectively. Craig Mulligan, who was 13 at the time of Logan’s murder, was imprisoned for at least 15 years.

Her trial revealed that Logan largely disappeared from the eyes of authorities in the months leading up to his murder, with his family using the Covid pandemic as an excuse to lock him up in the “dungeon” of his small, dark bedroom.

When Logan’s body was examined after being found lifeless in the River Ogmore near the family home in Sarn, South Wales, he was bruised, scraped and scratched from head to toe. More than 50 injury sites – and many more individual injuries – were found.

The review said injuries he sustained nearly a year before his death, which were attributed to a fall, should have prompted a child protection referral. Working conditions under lockdowns, including staff absences and a lack of face-to-face meetings, were said to have made the professionals’ work very challenging.

However, it expressed serious concern about a lack of communication between authorities and hinted that they sometimes worked in silos. “The lack of a common information sharing system has critically impacted the ability to respond to this case,” it said.

Welsh Deputy Social Services Minister Julie Morgan said: “We must learn the lessons of this review and accept the recommendations in relation to the Welsh Government. I expect all authorities involved to take time to digest this and we will work with them to advance the other national recommendations to ensure changes are made.”

Shadow Secretary of State for Social Services Gareth Davies, of the Welsh Conservatives, said: “What happened to Logan was a tragedy that should never have happened and could have been avoided had the errors identified in this report been avoided.”

Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds said: “Child protection services across Wales need to be reviewed.”

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