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  1. ITV Report

'Several missed opportunities' in run up to killing of mother and son

Rachael Slack and her son Auden were killed by her ex-partner in 2010. Photo: Derby Telegraph

A report published today has found there were several missed opportunities in the run up to the killing of a pregnant woman and her young son by her ex-partner.

Rachael Slack and her 23-month-old son Auden were found with multiple stab wounds in their home at Holbrook in Derbyshire, on June 2, 2010.

They were killed by Ms Slack's former partner and Auden's father, Andrew Cairns, who had a history of mental illness. He was also found dead at the house, after taking his own life.

Andrew Cairns killed his ex-partner and son after hearing she was pregnant by her new partner Credit: ITV News Central

In January 2014 a serious case review by Derby Safeguarding Children Board (DSCB) found that the tragedy could not have been foreseen by any individual or agency with information known at the time.

Today, an NHS England report has concluded that information-sharing between professionals and agencies who worked with Andrew Cairns was not as efficient as it could have been, resulting in delays in diagnoses and treatments.

In addition, care services failed to consult or work with Rachael Slack, who despite having ended a relationship with Andrew Cairns, remained closely involved with him.

The report offers three recommendations to healthcare providers based on the case of Andrew Cairns.

  • Properly following the practices of the Care Programme Approach
  • Working closely with carers and family members to obtain as much information as possible.
  • Better cooperation and support for families that have experienced homicide/suicide to ensure they are involved in the post-incident process.

Nevertheless, the report claims that killing of Ms Slack and her 23-month-old son could not have been predicted or prevented.