How Social Workers Were Duped by Middle Class Child Abuse Pair
Byline: Tamara Cohen
AS high-flying research scientists, they seemed the epitome of middle-class respectability.
So social workers were thrilled when Dr Nicholas Newcombe and his wife Dr Jill Newcombe-Buley, who appeared to live a picture-perfect lifestyle, chose to adopt three children. But yesterday a damning Serious Case Review accused officials of failing to prevent the two brothers and their sister suffering a decade of abuse and neglect at the couple's hands.
Professionals were condemned for missing 'many opportunities' to help the youngsters because they were swayed by the scientists' social class and status.
Behind the door of the couple's [pounds sterling]450,000 home in leafy Cheshire, the two boys and a girl - referred to as B, C, and D for legal reasons - were punched, slapped and smothered.
Newcombe-Buley, a 45-year-old chemist, stamped on one child with a stiletto heel and hit another over the head with a dustbin lid.
She was jailed for four years in October after admitting 15 counts of assault and child neglect. Her 43-year-old husband, who pleaded guilty to neglect by not reporting his wife, was given a 12-month suspended sentence.
The review concluded that Stokeon-Trent Social Services should have prevented the abuse, and did not act when Child B desperately tried to expose it.
Tragically, the vulnerable children had been 'rescued' from drugaddicted parents. However, social workers failed to look into important aspects of their adoptive parents lives - including work pressures, lack of experience with children and the fact that they had never lived together - according to the review by Cheshire East Local Safeguarding Children Board.
Report author Chris Brabbs said the youngsters were failed by social services, teachers and the police.
'They went from being "rescued" from the exposure to significant harm within their birth family only to end up being placed in another abusive situation where they were subjected to repeated and systematic physical abuse, emotional harm and neglect', he wrote. …