Case review: Toddler’s death ‘wasn’t preventable’

Sarah Dahane

Sarah Dahane

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

THE death of a toddler – who police believe was murdered – could not have been prevented, an investigation has found.

But the serious case review into the death of 20-month-old Sarah Dahane, pictured, published yesterday, has said lessons should be learned from her death.

The youngster was found in her Bicester home in May last year – a day after her mother Angela Whitworth had left the country.

Oxford Mail:

The cordoned-off house in Herald Way, Bicester

The report revealed that her parents had been involved in a custody battle and police and social services had been in touch over domestic abuse allegations.

It stated Sarah’s mother – who is believed to be in Kenya – had also complained of depression and had told a social worker she wanted to give up her baby while pregnant.

But the serious case review – ordered by the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (OSCB) – yesterday concluded the toddler’s death was neither preventable or predictable.

Maggie Blyth, OSCB independent chairwoman, said: “The serious case review paints a picture of a mother involved in a custody process that clearly had an impact on her wellbeing.

“However up until her death, (the child) had apparently been well cared for and was thriving.

“The review finds that the death was neither predictable or preventable, though there are lessons for the agencies to learn so they can improve their approach to safeguarding in the future.”

Thames Valley Police launched a murder investigation and named Ms Whitworth as a suspect when her daughter’s body was found at their Glory Farm home on May 16, 2013.

Police said last year there were no signs of external trauma to the toddler’s body and her cause of death has still not been formally established. The report said Sarah’s father, Nabil Dahane, had split from Ms Whitworth before Sarah was born. She had spoken to a social worker in 2011 about giving up her baby because she wanted her to have a stable family life.

It said a landlord also reported in 2012 that Ms Whitworth had left Sarah alone in a Northamptonshire flat and the tot had been bruised when she fell off the bed.

Domestic abuse allegations were also reported to police and social workers but none were ever substantiated, the review revealed.

The review said these incidents should have been investigated further and information shared with all child care agencies.

But it concluded: “Whilst there is no reason to believe that the minor weaknesses identified had any impact on the outcome for (the child) they should be addressed as they highlight potential areas of vulnerability in services which might impact negatively on other children and their families.”

The review also recommended those involved in safeguarding children review the way they deal with families from minority ethic groups.

Thames Valley Police spokeswoman Francine Rodrigues last night said its major crime unit was still investigating the death and working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service.

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Paul Smith said: “We have accepted the recommendations relating to agencies working together and (the council) in particular, and will be putting them into practice.”

The safeguarding board is made up of representatives from organisations responsible for looking after children – including the county council, Thames Valley Police and the NHS. Police have not been able to arrest Ms Whitworth because she is believed to have left the country for Kenya.

  •  Read the report, statement and recommendations

Child N - SCR Overview Report.pdf

Child N - Statement.pdf

Child N - OSCB Recommendations.pdf

 

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed

Our top stories

Delays on M40 near Bicester after vehicle fire

Oxford Mail: Lorry jackknifes on M40 causing traffic tailbacks

7:18pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

THERE are delays of up to half an hour on the M40 after an earlier vehicle fire.

Woman sexually assaulted in pub car park in Kidlington

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

6:21pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

A woman has been sexually assaulted in a pub car park in Kidlington.

Horse killed in crash near Steeple Aston

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

2:26pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

A HORSE was killed after it collided with a car near Steeple Aston yesterday.

Gritters out tonight as mercury plummets across Oxfordshire

Oxford Mail: Gritter lorries get ready to set out last night

2:17pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

OXFORDSHIRE is set for a cold snap tonight and tomorrow with temperatures as low as -2C expected in some parts of the county.

Have you seen missing 23-year-old Kerri Hutt from Witney?

Oxford Mail:

11:51am Sunday 23rd November 2014

A WOMAN from Witney has been missing since Friday.

Attack in Oxford city centre leaves two men needing hospital treatment

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

6:24pm Saturday 22nd November 2014

TWO men were assaulted in Oxford city centre last weekend.

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:36pm Fri 8 Aug 14

Lord Palmerstone says...

Well not preventable by the State , for what that's worth but if it was murder it was preventable by the murderer's choosing not to do evil. So far as I know the Law still recognises that choice.
Well not preventable by the State , for what that's worth but if it was murder it was preventable by the murderer's choosing not to do evil. So far as I know the Law still recognises that choice. Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 2

9:16pm Fri 8 Aug 14

Hook says...

It stated Sarah’s mother – who is believed to be in Kenya – had also complained of depression and had told a social worker she wanted to give up her baby while pregnant. If that didnt ring any bells social worksers need to think outside the box
It stated Sarah’s mother – who is believed to be in Kenya – had also complained of depression and had told a social worker she wanted to give up her baby while pregnant. If that didnt ring any bells social worksers need to think outside the box Hook
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree