A social services investigation is under way following the death of five-year-old Logan Mwangi and the convictions of his mother, stepfather and a teenager for his murder.
Just a month before Logan was killed in July last year social workers in Bridgend removed him from the child protection register – meaning he was believed to be no longer at risk of serious harm.
An inquiry will establish whether anything could have been done to save him and whether improvements to safeguarding practices are needed in Wales.
Stepfather John Cole, 40, mother Angharad Williamson, 31, and a 14-year-old boy were all convicted at Cardiff Crown Court of Logan’s murder.
Logan had suffered “catastrophic” internal injuries consistent with a “brutal and sustained assault” likened to a car crash.
Jurors heard evidence from social workers and health visitors from Bridgend County Council who were heavily involved with the family for the months leading up to the boy’s death.
The day before police found his body in the River Ogmore, social worker Debbie Williams had spent 20 minutes outside their home speaking to the three defendants, but did not see or hear Logan.
The year before, on August 16, a safeguarding referral was made after Williamson took Logan to Prince of Wales Hospital claiming he had fallen down the stairs the day before.
She made a statement to police, and experienced health visitor Melanie Smith became involved with the family.
Ms Smith said: “There were concerns because of the delay [in taking Logan to the hospital] and the fact Angharad had tried to put the shoulder back in herself.”
She said that months later, authorities became aware that the youth had confessed to pushing Logan down the stairs.
When Logan was on the child protection register in March 2021, due to concerns about Cole, social workers were expected to visit the family every 10 days and were able to offer additional help.
Gaynor Rush, who was assigned the task until she left her post just weeks before he was murdered, said that during her unscheduled visits to the flat in Sarn where the family lived, the property appeared clean, the children well presented and clean and they had plenty of toys.
Ms Rush said Williamson appeared to “adore” Logan and “only wanted the best” for them.
She said she initially found Cole intimidating, but her relationship with him and Williamson improved over time.
While giving evidence during the trial Ms Rush broke down crying, recalling Logan as “a sweet little boy, beautifully presented and he was very polite and articulate”.
However, Ms Rush expressed frustration with Ms Williams, the youth’s social worker, claiming she had refused to share information or work with her closely.
Months later, in June 2021, they were placed instead on a Child In Need plan, which is for children who are not deemed at risk but have complex needs and need provisions to help with their development.
The inquiry, a Child Practice Review, will be led by the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Safeguarding Board, which includes local councils, police, probation service and NHS.
In a statement the safeguarding board said: “Following the learning event, the independent reviewers of the case will collate and analyse all the information gathered to complete a report, highlighting the learning from the case, any areas of good practice and recommendations to improve future safeguarding practice.
“It is vitally important that the review is undertaken thoroughly. This can typically take approximately six months to complete.
“The Safeguarding Board will of course do everything it can to complete the review at the earliest opportunity, but we anticipate that the earliest this will be possible will be in the autumn of 2022.”
'No stone must be left unturned'
Tracey Holdsworth, assistant director of NSPCC Cymru, said “no stone must be left unturned” in understanding whether more could have been done to protect Logan.
“The treatment of Logan Mwangi by people who should have been caring for him was horrific, but for his death to have involved another young person is even more shocking,” she said.
“However, we cannot lose sight of the fact that one of those found guilty is still a child and the response to him must be one of both punishment and appropriate support.
“A Child Practice Review must now leave no stone unturned in establishing exactly what took place before Logan died and whether more could have been done to protect him.
“There must also be more investment in children’s services in Wales to ensure they are able to provide comprehensive support to any child at risk of harm and be better equipped to prevent a tragedy such as this happening again in Wales.”
Following Logan’s death, South Wales Police referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) due to previous contact with the family.
The watchdog decided not to investigate, and South Wales Police said its own inquiry did not identify any misconduct.