September 2009

Father’s fury at social services ‘failure to act’ over sex offender

A five-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by a man who had been flagged up to social services by her dad as being a sex fiend.

The father, who is separated from his family, claims Stephen West, 30, from Bletchley, was on the sex offender’s list and shouldn’t have been near the child.

He says he expressed his concerns to the former Bedfordshire County Council social services between ’50 and 60 times’ but says they gave West the all clear.

West was recently found guilty at Northampton Crown court of sexually assaulting the child, who featured on a ‘shocking’ video in a bathroom filmed on his mobile phone.

His phone also held dozens of pictures of children being sexually abused, another sick video and 31 abusive images of children, including up to a dozen showing children being subjected to sexual abuse. The court heard he was previously cautioned and placed on the sex offenders’ register in 2006 for possessing child pornography images.

The distraught father, 29, from near Biggleswade, has demanded an investigation after complaining to Central Bedfordshire Council.

He said: “They have failed to do the job they are paid to do and protect children.

If they had acted when I first told them about this man then this would not have happened.

“I told them at the time that if he offended once he would do it again. I now know that he took naked pictures of my daughter in the bath and he sexually assaulted her. I am also told he slept in her bed.” West was sent to prison for a minimum of 32 months for public protection with a sexual offences prevention order, banning unsupervised contact with anyone aged under 18, and banned him from ever working with children. The identity of his victim cannot be published for legal reasons. When he leaves prison he will be on licence and liable to recall to prison for the rest of his life or for a decade after his release.

Cllr Anita Lewis, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Central Bedfordshire Council said: “Following information in June of this year, the council’s Children’s Services have acted swiftly to implement multi-agency children’s safeguarding plans which are being actively pursued.

“We have also reviewed relevant case files, most of which relate to the former Beds CC. The case will be referred to the Bedfordshire Local Safeguarding Children Board who will consider whether there should be a multi-agency review of the case.

“This would identify any lessons to be learned and lead to improved safeguarding practice in the future.”