FURY at KELVIN SECRECY

By Shelley Dyer

A FURIOUS family claim they have been kept in the dark over a report into the death of tragic Kelvin Cochrane.

Relatives said they knew nothing about Calderdale Council’s review of the case and today called for its findings to be made public.

Kelvin’s aunt, Winnie Cochrane, said: “The child protection committee never spoke to us as a family about it and I am disgusted this has gone ahead without us being allowed to say something.

“I am also disgusted nobody has been able to see the report. They should make it public. This is just another sham and cover-up like it has been all the way through.”

Despite findings by the area child protection committee that nothing could have been done to save Kelvin, his aunt believes the agencies involved should have spotted the toddler was in danger.

“They should start taking responsibilities for their own actions. People need to open their eyes to what is going on in the real world,” she said.

Yesterday the Evening Courier reported how if agencies had acted differently, the threat to the two-year-old may have been identified before he died.

Kelvin, who was not on the child-protection register, died in May 2003 after he was thrown against his bedroom wall in Queen’s Road, Halifax, by his young mum’s boyfriend. Lee Camplin, now 21, was jailed for 10 years for manslaughter and cruelty. Kelvin’s mother, now 19, was found guilty of neglect and given a community rehabilitation order.

In his short life, Kelvin or members of his close family had contact with police, a health visitor, council-run nurseries and a children’s behavioural specialist.

At one nursery, his mother reported he had had five accidents at home in the space of a couple of months.

Winnie, who said Kelvin had once been on the at-risk register while he lived in Mixenden, believed that if agencies involved had communicated they would have realised the danger Kelvin was in.

She said: “A friend rang the police twice and the NSPCC once to say she was worried about Kelvin. She left his name and address but nobody acted on that information.

“I can’t believe they are cheeky enough to do this. It is like Kelvin died for nothing.”

Kelvin’s biological father, William, said nobody had contacted him about the report.

He said: “Somebody should have picked up that he was in danger. They are just trying to cover their own backs. ”

The area child protection committee has refused to make the report public, claiming it is confidential.

It said the review had been led by independent expert Roger Thompson who has extensive experience in the social services, child protection and health fields.

A spokesman for Calderdale Council said Kelvin’s mother and father had been notified about the review.

Committee chairman Mike Stow said people often wanted someone to blame and sometimes agencies were an easy target. “The review found the child protection system in Calderdale was robust,” he said.

“Like all learning organisations. we have to continually look at what we are doing with a view to improving. We don’t use a tragedy as the only mechanism to improve service. We have service managers working all the time to improve the service.”

Sheila Lock, Calderdale Council head of services to students and communities, said child protection was not black and white. There were always shades of grey and people had to make fine judgment calls.

She said nursery staff had sought explanations when five accidents were reported and the explanations given had been understandable.

“Random acts of violence are not something we can legislate against. You have to remember whatever goes on behind closed doors we are not privy to.”

She said improvements had already been made to ensure they could work with children and families in much more detail.

Comment: Page 8