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Serious Case Review says baby's murder may not have been preventable

The full scale of the contact between social services and a man who went on to kill his infant daughter has been published today.

Three-month-old Paris Vince Stephens was shaken to death by her father in Bristol in 2013. He has since been jailed for her manslaughter.

A Serious Case Review report showed that social services, police and health workers had contact with the family for years. It makes 11 recommendations.

But the chair of the review said she didn't believe Paris' death was preventable.

Robert Murphy reports.

In a statement, Bristol City Council said:

This is a truly tragic case which highlights the difficult lives experienced by some families and the real challenges professionals face in helping them.

We are grateful to the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB) for a very thorough report and clear recommendations. We have not waited to act on these, and many of the suggested improvements are already in place.

Sadly there is never any way to completely remove risk to the most vulnerable members of our society, but the learning and recommendations from this report will help us work together more effectively and do all we can to keep people safe.

However, no amount of improved professional practice changes the fact that a vulnerable young baby lost her life.

That is never acceptable and we will continue to work with other agencies across the city to make sure we do everything in our power to protect children.

– Jean Pollard, Service Director, Child & Family Support, Bristol City Council

Avon and Somerset Police says they take protection and safeguarding of children extremely seriously.

We recognise and fully accept that more could have been done to help prevent this tragedy and we want to learn the lessons from this case.

The Serious Case Review has outlined a number of recommendations on how we can improve processes and staff awareness relating to the areas of child protection, domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation.

We’ve already taken action to implement all of these recommended learnings and make changes to our referral mechanisms, recording and information sharing processes.

– Det Supt Carolyn Belafonte

Young mum commits suicide after being hounded by strangers

An inquest has found Danah Vince took her own life just hours after she was trolled and attacked in the street.

The 20-year-old was verbally and physically assaulted in public and online following the death of her 16-week-old daughter, Paris Vince-Stephens. The baby's father, William Stephens, was convicted of causing "catastrophic" head injuries, which killed the little girl, and jailed for six years.

But despite being cleared of any wrongdoing she was called 'baby killer' in public and sent threatening letters and social media messages.

But, after being confronted by a gang in a Southmead pub shortly before Christmas, the mother took an overdose, killing herself.

The inquest was told Danah was forced to move away from her family in Southmead, Bristol, in a bid to escape harassment.

In a statement read to Avon Coroner's Court, in Flax Bourton, her dad David John said Danah had been up and down following the death of Paris.

I'm aware she would be shouted at in the street. They would shout 'baby killer' at her. They would get right in her face and shout it.

She also told me she has received threatening letters. These threats forced her to relive her grief.

She was continuing to have people shout abuse at her. She was strong and would stand up for herself but this would get her down.

She found it it hard to move on with we life because of this. Every time I would see her she would say someone had shouted at her.

– David John

The coroner heard Danah had been prescribed amitriptyline, an antidepressant that helped her sleep, for several months, which had been increased from 10mg to 200mg in that time.

She was also set to undergo treatment for mental health issues, but died before her treatment began.

She had returned to her local pub, near her family's home, on November 29 last year - almost a year after she was cleared - when she was punched by three girls.

These women were shouting at Danah, calling her a 'baby killer'.

They were right up close. She was saying things like 'I didn't kill her, I didn't hurt my baby'. She said that she couldn't take his anymore.

– Jaylea Monks

A pathologist found she died from acute toxic effects of amitriptyline, codeine and alcohol.

Avon Coroner Maria Voisin recorded a conclusion of suicide.

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Inquest begins into death of young mother

Paris Vince-Stephens was just 16 weeks old when she died.

An inquest begins today into the death of a young mother from Bristol.

Danah Vince, 20, was found dead at her home in Southmead almost a year after being cleared of causing or allowing the death of her 16-week-old daughter Paris Vince-Stephens.

The baby's father, William Stephens, was convicted of killing her, and sentenced to six years.

Statement: Bristol Safeguarding Children

This is an extremely sad case where there has been the tragic loss of a young life. If nothing else I hope that today’s verdict offers some small measure of closure.

An independent Serious Case Review by the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board is being completed, carefully examining the role of public bodies involved in the case to see if there are any lessons to be learnt.

The complexity of this case will become apparent once that review is published early next year following the conclusion of all relevant legal processes. At that point we will be able to comment further on its findings

– Tony Melville, Chair of the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board:

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Mother cleared of all charges

A Bristol father is facing jail after being convicted of killing his 16-week-old daughter.

Paris Vince-Stephens was shaken to death by her father, William Stephens, at her home in Bristol in January this year.

Paris's mother, 19 year old Danah Vince, was acquitted of causing or allowing the death of a child.

Stephens, who showed no emotion when the jury foreman returned the guilty verdict, will be sentenced tomorrow by Mr Justice Teare.

baby Paris Vince-Stephens was shaken to death by her father in Bristol