Police are re-investigating drug-addicted father PAUL HAND after a second child of his (by a different mother) dies. Dad has been jailed for child cruelty. He also has a history of domestic violence.
Tragic Kasey's jailed dad: Police re-investigate earlier child's death
Jul 12 2009 by Jeanette Oldham, Sunday Mercury
POLICE RE-INVESTIGATE EARLIER TRAGEDY
KASEY DEATH: DAD IN SECOND PROBE
COPS have re-investigated the death of a baby girl whose father was jailed for child cruelty after another of his children died.
West Midlands Police reopened an inquiry into the sudden death of the nine-month-old Birmingham girl in August 2005.
The move came after her drug addict father Paul Hand was jailed for child cruelty following the death of a second daughter, Kasey, in 2008.
A police reinvestigation of the first baby tragedy has now been completed.
It is understood that a pathologist’s report has recommended the cause of death be changed from pneumonia to ‘unascertained’.
Police say they have now concluded the case – and stress no one has been charged in connection with the 2005 death.
The fresh inquiry was launched last March after Hand’s five-month-old daughter Kasey, born to a different mother, died at his flat in Quinton. The drug addict and the child’s mum Samantha Westwood, 25, were later charged with causing or allowing the death of a baby. But the charge was dropped after tests failed to establish the cause of death.
Yet both parents were convicted of child cruelty after Birmingham Crown Court heard how Hand had left Kasey home alone, including the day she died.
The dad had also “selfishly” put his daughter’s life at risk by repeatedly smoking crack cocaine and heroin in her presence.
Trainee teacher Westwood had also subjected her daughter to a life of “squalor, neglect and passive drug use”, but her culpability had been less, the judge accepted.
Kasey was found to have sustained a bump to her head and a bruise to the jaw. The parents claimed the injury had been caused by her falling over, or when paramedics tried to resuscitate her on the day she died.
Hand is due to be released from Birmingham Prison on July 31, after serving half of his two-year sentence for child cruelty.
A serious case review into Kasey’s death, carried out by the local council, police and other agencies, is due to be published shortly.
The Sunday Mercury understands that West Midlands Police were called to deal with alleged incidents of domestic violence involving Hand allegedly attacking the mother of the first tragic daughter.
Yet despite police having had considerable contact with the family, Birmingham City Council children’s services did not officially become involved with the couple.
The death of the first baby was investigated in August 2005 as a sudden infant death.
Detective Chief Inspector Shaun Russell said the fresh probe had now been concluded and no one had been arrested or charged.
“An independent review was undertaken in relation to the two cases by a forensic pathologist,’’ said Det Chief Insp Russell, who also led the investigation into Kasey’s death.
‘‘In relation to Kasey, it was defined to be unascertained.”
Asked whether parents of children who may have died suddenly or in suspicious circumstances are monitored when they have more children, he added: “West Midlands Police currently work together with a number of partners to manage the risk that people present to children.”
Birmingham City Council children’s services were recently at the centre of a child deaths scandal after the Sunday Mercury revealed that 15 children have died of abuse or neglect in the city in the past three years.
The council has confirmed that at least eight were known to social workers.
Last year Ofsted branded elements of children’s services in the city “inadequate”, and children’s minister Beverley Hughes issued a one-year improvement notice. Failure to comply would result in direct government intervention in the running of the department.