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Christmas was coming and Rhys spent the weekend of 11th and 12th December 2010 with
his mother. The 16 year old toy boy was away. On the following Monday Rhys did
not show up at Shenstone School. He had been injured over the weekend.
Usually after such injuries the mother prevented others from seeing him, in the normal course of events Rhys would probably have been off school sick for a week but on the Tuesday his mother, Sadie Henry, needed to go out. It was winter so she formed a seasonal plan.
The injuries were more than just slight but were disguised with foundation cream and scarves. No one would notice, but they did.
The teacher at Shenstone took off Rhys’s hood and jacket and scarves and found the horrors that lurked beneath. His face was severely bruised and the bruising extended deep inside his ears too. The same mysterious bruising was present after Rhys’s death and in court the medical expert said “I have carried out thousands of autopsies in my long career and I have never seen anything like it before, so I cannot tell you how the Injuries to the ears were caused”.
The school naturally called the mother - repeatedly - but Sadie wasn’t answering her phone. When she did several days later she said Rhys had had “a very bad week falling about everywhere and getting injured all the time”. (Head teacher’s court statement.”)
The school rightly wasn’t going to wait for Sadie to surface and got on to Bexley council’s Social Services on Wednesday 15th December, a call taken by Laurantia Mqotsi. She promised that the matter would be looked into - but you’ve guessed it - it wasn’t.
During a meeting between Grandfather Trevor Lawrie and Sheila Murphy, Deputy Director of Children’s Social Care (£108,708 a year) on 18 September 2012, she explained that it was Christmas but had Rhys not died they would have visited eventually. (Trevor’s words.)
Rhys was killed six weeks after the school’s referral. Bexley council had done nothing to help in that time. Just like they did nothing when the original Health Visitor made her report three years earlier.
On 20th September 2012 Trevor Lawrie (Grandfather) wrote to Sheila Murphy about the murder of his grandson and her department’s dereliction of its duties. She replied on 13th October.
Ms. Murphy was not unsympathetic but claimed that the council took no action over the school’s report because no written referral was made until 19th January 2011.
The Head teacher’s police statement (see image) confirms it. She went on to say that the council called her just prior to the 19th January - she couldn’t remember the precise date - requesting another report. Red tape kills.
The Rhys Lawrie blog index.
Note: Rhys was not collected from school by his mother on the 14th December 2010 and was delivered home by the school’s transport service. The police were not called to see the injuries. That may have proved to be a fatal error of judgment.