Archie Spriggs inquest: death was not preventable

An inquest into the death of a seven-year-old schoolboy killed by his mother in his own home has concluded that his death could not have been prevented, despite missed opportunities by Shropshire Council to speak to him in person.

Archie Spriggs died from asphyxia after Lesley Speed used a scarf and cushion to strangle and smother him. It happened at their home in Rushbury, near Church Stretton, Shropshire, on 21 September 2017.

The barrister representing the Sprigg family gave the following statement:

Speed denied murdering her son, claiming that Archie had tried to kill himself. She was convicted of his murder and jailed for 18 years. She'd been involved in a bitter custody battle with the schoolboy's father at the time.

Lesley Speed denied the murder at Birmingham Crown Court. Credit: West Mercia Police

The inquest, which was held at Shirehall in Shrewsbury, heard that on the 2nd June 2016, Lesley Speed made two calls to West Mercia Police. In one, she made reference to wanting to strangle someone. In the second, made four hours later, she said "there's very little keeping me from stabbing him" and "I've had enough I can't take any more". It's generally assumed she was referring to Archie's father Matthew Spriggs.

Phil Shakesheff from West Mercia Police also gave evidence. He said he felt the call centre dealt with the calls well. The call handler cautioned Speed about her behaviour and told her to stop making the threats. He said: "There was nothing there to suggest that the threats were going to be carried out" and had "no reason to believe the threats were real".

Archie Spriggs was found dead at his mother's home last September. Credit: West Mercia Police

There had been a meeting between police, the council and other bodies where the situation was discussed, but these calls were not mentioned. He said "had we discussed them, my decision would have been the same" regarding the level of risk.

Archie was a pupil at the Rushbury Primary School.

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Forensic officers at the scene of the incident last September. Credit: ITV News Central