Hampshire boy died after failures by authorities

A seven-year-old Hampshire boy died after the authorities failed for four years to take action despite 18 opportunities to step in, a Serious Case Review has found. Blake Fowler suffered a severe head injury at his home inD ecember 2011 from which he later died. An inquest in November 2013 recorded an open determination and heard that a post mortem examination showed that Blake died as a result of a brain haemorrhage. Following the inquest, Hampshire police reopened its investigation after a review was carried out of the original inquiry. His mother, stepfather and step-uncle were arrested last year but the Crown Prosecution Service ruled that no further action would be taken against them due to lack of evidence. Concerns for ill-treatment were first made in November 2007 and despite numerous contacts between Blake and the health and social care services, he remained with his family at their home in in Cromarty Road, Southampton, until his death more than four years later. Keith Makin, independent chairman of the Southampton Local Safeguarding Children Board, said that the errors made were “simply unacceptable” and there had been “significant failures” in the child protection system in the city. He said: “Blake was only seven years old when he died in 2011. His family were well known to local services in Southampton as a result of domestic abuse and there had been long-term concerns about Blake’s safety. “The Serious ase Review highlighted several missed opportunities to help Blake and a number of significant failures in our child protection system. The errors made in this case were simply unacceptable. “On behalf of the Southampton Local Safeguarding Children Board, along with colleagues from the council, police and health services in the city, I would like to say how sorry we are that Blake did not get the help that he needed. In one example, just before starting school in September 2008, Blake was referred to Children’s Social Care Services (CSCS) by Southampton General Hospital after presenting with a bruised penis and facial injuries. Despite the consultant paediatrician giving his opinion that the injuries were deliberately inflicted, no further action was taken after an assessor visited the family home but without actually seeing Blake. The review said this hospital admittance was a particularly “significant missed opportunity”. When the case was re-investigated last year, Hampshire police’s ssistant Chief Constable Laura Nicholson apologised “that the initial investigation by the constabulary was unsatisfactory”. Social services claims sometimes arise due to poor funding and significant understaffing resulting in systematic errors. Nevertheless, social services have a duty to protect vulnerable children and their negligence can result in devastating consequences. If you or a loved one have been subject to abuse please do not hesitate to contact Charles Derham our specialist child abuse solicitor. We will treat any communications with the strictest of confidence


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

  • Child abuse claims
  • Claims against social services
  • Complex/Catastrophic Clinical Negligence claims

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