(Family Division, Baker J, 26 July 2013)
A summary of the substantive hearing in relation to the two child survivors of an attack on the family in Annecy, France, in which the mother, father, grandmother and a passing cyclist were shot dead, was released by Baker J in the course of determining the long-term care plans of the children. They had been in foster care for 10 months and an application was now made by the maternal aunt and uncle to care for them.
The children wished to move to live with the aunt, uncle and their cousin and social services concluded that they had capacity to care for them in difficult circumstances which would include an element of police protection.
The court had to take into account the risk that whoever was responsible for the attack may try to harm them again. The police had conducted regular assessments of the level of risk, and had taken protective measures in the light of that assessment. At present, the level of risk was assessed as low, but if they moved to live with their uncle and aunt in the community it was likely to rise but the police did not, however, say that the level of risk was such that they should not be placed with them. Wherever they lived, they would continue to be subject to police protection including, for the time being at least, armed protection.
Having considered the evidence as to the benefits and risk, in the context of s 1 of the Children Act 1989, Baker J concluded that it would be in the best interests of the children to go to live with their aunt, uncle and cousin.