Social workers were warned of fears for infant weeks before his murder with "Baby P-like injuries"
SOCIAL workers were warned a child, who suffered "Baby P-like injuries" was in danger in the weeks before he was murdered by his mother's partner, it has emerged. A serious case review is being carried out into the death of Teddie Mitchell, (above) who died aged just 11 weeks, after receiving a series of serious injuries at the hands of Kane Mitchell, 32, (below left). Teddie died in hospital on November 11 2019 after being admitted unresponsive ten days earlier. His mother Lucci Smith, 30, (below right) and Mitchell, called 999 after he went into cardiac arrest at their flat in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, but told police they had no idea how he could have sustained injuries including a seriously fractured skull with a bleed on the brain. A post mortem examination later showed his skull was broken in two halves and he had a broken spine, 17 ribs, pelvis and both clavicles, with five or six separate injury events since birth. DI Lucy Thompson, who led the investigation, said in 20 years of child protection she had never before come across the level of catastrophic injuries to a baby and it was as the result of "months of sustained ill treatment."
The pathologist told police the injuries were "in the territory of Baby P" - real name Peter Connelly - who died from horrific injuries aged 17 months in 2007 in Tottenham from injuries caused by his mother Tracey Connelly's partner Steven Barker, causing a national outcry, due to missed opportunities to save him by social workers, medical staff and police. A two-part 24 Hours in Police Custody documentary shows how Cambridgeshire Police proved Mitchell's guilt in the face of repeated claims from the couple they had no idea what happened. DI Thompson said from the outset they claimed to have a perfect relationship and work together as a team and there appeared to be no child protection history logged with social care for the family. However, door-to-door enquiries with neighbours revealed a very different picture with one providing video evidence to police of Mitchell during a furious rage. Smith (below with Mitchell from Facebook) had three older children from a previous relationship and had told Mitchell Teddie was his, but
DNA tests during the investigation showed he was not the father. DI Thompson said: "With both parents saying they had no idea what happened, we had to work out how he suffered such catastrophic injuries within that home. "It was not a neglectful household and was almost too tidy, there was nothing obvious." She said Mitchell initially appeared very credible and cooperated with police, but he flew into a rage when they were both later arrested on suspicion of murder. She said: "House-to-house enquiries showed he was really volatile with lots of swearing and neighbours had called social care because they were worried about his attitude to the kids. "One neighbour saw him grab her by the chin and push her against a wall with an awful noise as if he was strangling her." Three neighbours had previously called police or social services due to fears for the children and Smith due to his outbursts. Detectives interviewed an ex-girlfriend of Mitchell's who said she "knew this would happen" as he would "flip" and "lose it" with her and her children, beat her several times, and told her what to say to the school and social services. They also seized both parents' mobile phones and found messages from mid October when Mitchell threatened to "drag Smith into the bedroom and f**k her up" just because she went to the park with a friend and to leave Teddie on his own. Smith's eldest child was also interviewed and said he called Mitchell "ugly" as he often "hits me on the arm." But, when put to Smith in interview that Mitchell was violent and controlling, she laughed, and maintained she had no idea how Teddie's injuries were caused.
DI Thompson (above in the documentary) said she was "completely entrenched" with Mitchell. However, she eventually admitted that he had assaulted her on a number of occasions, but still insisted he would never have hurt any of her children. The pair were charged and in February this year Mitchell was sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court to life for murder and causing or allowing serious harm to a child with a minimum of 18 years to serve. Smith was found guilty of child neglect and sentenced to a two-year community order after spending 131 days on remand. DI Thompson said: "At first Mitchell presented as you would expect any grieving father and was perfectly pleasant to the investigation team. "But, he could change that persona at will and he became more self centred and self serving as the investigation progressed. He was completely devoid of any remorse or real empathy for Teddie and it was all about Kane and not what Teddie had been through." Cambridgeshire County Council was asked what, if anything, had been done in response to concerns raised from neighbours. A spokeswoman said: "A serious case review is underway and the findings should be published late this year (2022). We cannot comment further until it is published."
if there is previous contact with police before someone dies, forces often refer themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for investigation.
In this case Cambridgeshire Police did not do so, despite neighbours previously calling police with concerns.
A force spokeswoman said: "After a thorough investigation conducted by the senior investigating officer, it was concluded that the case did not need to be referred to the IOPC.”
An IOPC spokesman said: "We have not received any complaints or referrals in relation to the death of Teddie Mitchell. In the absence of a complaint, it would be for the force to consider whether the circumstances of police contact with Teddie met the criteria for a referral to us.” 24 Hours in Police Custody: Cold to the touch will be shown on Channel 4 at 9pm on Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 January.