The local authority sought care and placement orders in respect of three children whose mother had been violently killed by the father. The maternal grandmother had sought to protect the mother and children from the father and at the time of the mother’s death the children were living with her. They were removed from her care under an interim care order and remained in foster care due to the grandmother’s arrest for stealing from the children’s criminal injury compensation.
In the circumstances of this case, despite the advantages of being placed with a family member there was overwhelming evidence that to do so was not in the best interests of the children. Adoption was a last resort but the right thing for the children was a new start away from the family difficulties that continues to exist.
The judge provided guidance on best practice in cases where one parent was killed by the other including the need for care proceedings to be commenced as a matter of urgency due to the threshold being plainly met and the need for the local authority to have parental responsibility. The judge emphasised the need for a thorough assessment of any family member being considered as a potential carer due to that person’s own grief and suffering at losing a family member. This had not been done in this case and the judge found that the trauma of the children had been accentuated as a result. Neutral Citation Number: [ 2014] EWHC 3090 (Fam) Case No. FB13C00056
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE FAMILY DIVISION
BIRMINGHAM CIVIL & FAMILY CENTRE The Priory Courts 33 Bull Street Birmingham
Date: Friday 18th July 2014
HIS HONOUR JUDGE CARDINAL (Sitting as a High Court judge)