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Social workers made a 'serious error' in allowing girl, 3, to return to live with her mother

An independent expert concluded that the social workers had committed a

A young mother tore the head off her three-year-old daughter’s teddy bear and called it ‘evil’ in the months before they died under a train, an inquest has heard.

An independent expert has concluded social workers made a ‘serious error’ in allowing Melsadie Adella-Rae Parris to return to live with her mother Leighane Melsadie Redmond, 27, shortly before they died.

Ms Redmond’s family had expressed concern over her unusual behavior over the Christmas period in 2018.

However, social workers closed Melsadie’s case on January 18, 2019, after a mental health assessment concluded that Ms Redmond was not psychotic.

On February 18, 2019, Ms Redmond took her daughter to Taplow station, entered a non-public area of ​​the station, hugged Melsadie and jumped into the path of a train.

Child social care expert Philip King had written in a report that there was ‘an absence of a thoughtful, safety-focused approach’ to returning Melsadie to her mother’s care.

Anna Jones, assistant manager of Buckinghamshire’s Council and Children’s Services team, had described Melsadie as ‘a little girl coming off as bright and bubbly’ and said the service had no concerns.

Deputy Coroner Ian Wade KC, presiding over the inquest in Beaconsfield, asked: ‘Would it have made a difference to the decision if you had been aware of stories such as, Ms Redmond ripping the head off the Melsadie’s teddy bear, took her bed apart, put away the television, wrapping it in bubble wrap.

Ms Jones, who worked in the Orientation and Assessment team, agreed it could have made a difference, but said the service was unaware of such concerns at the time.

However, Ms Jones accepted that social worker Katie Helibrunn was told by Melsadie’s father, Leroy Parris, that the little girl had told her her mother called her ‘mean’.

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The inquest heard Ms Redmond later agreed to make the comment and said it wasn’t appropriate, but said: ‘I was just unraveling’.

Mr Wade asked Ms Jones: ‘Do you agree with the experts that there was an absence of a thoughtful, safety-focused approach?

“There was information from two family members that the mother called Melsadie ‘evil’.”

Ms Jones told the inquest: ‘As a service we had the information. Ms. Redmond had given a reasonable explanation as to why Melsadie might have said these things.

On February 18, 2019, Ms Redmond took her daughter to Taplow station, entered a non-public area of ​​the station, gathered Melsadie into her arms and jumped into the path of a train.

On February 18, 2019, Ms Redmond took her daughter to Taplow station, entered a non-public area of ​​the station, gathered Melsadie into her arms and jumped into the path of a train.

“A lot of parents say a lot of things to kids that aren’t always positive things to say. We would need to understand the context.

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She added: “A mental health assessment indicated that Ms Redmond was doing well, a previous assessment of the family and the child indicated that there were no problems

“For us, literally to stop him from going back to his mother, we would have had to enter a legal arena.”

Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC, representing Ms Redmond’s mother Yvette, said there were ‘pretty extreme allegations’ made by Ms Redmond at Christmas 2018, including threats to kill herself and kill a family member .

She asked Ms Jones: ‘Do you accept that the January 18, 2019 decision to close the case was a serious mistake, as the expert said?’

Ms Jones replied: “What I had in front of me at the time, I feel like I made the right decision.”

The inquest heard that following the deaths of Ms Redmond and Melsadie, two consultant psychiatrists said Ms Redmond was likely exhibiting psychotic symptoms.

The investigation is continuing.

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