The foster carers of Ahmed Hassan, a teenage boy who tried to detonate a bomb on the underground as it reached Parsons Green, are suing Surrey County council for failing to tell them that the boy had been trained by Daesh (IS).
Hassan, who is originally from Iraq, came to the UK as a child migrant and suffered with mental health problems. He told officials that he had been groomed to fight in Iraq by Daesh militants.
The incident at Parsons Green tube, in which 51 people were injured resulting in a life sentence for 18 year-old Hassan, means that Ron and Penny Jones are not allowed to foster any more children.
The Jones’ say the council should have told them about the conversation immigration officials had with Ahmed in which he said that he had been trained to kill by Daesh soldiers. The claim against the council is believed to be the first of its kind.
Councils are required to make full and frank disclosures about fostered and adopted children’s histories, though the standard of communication falls far short of legal disclosure.
Councils do not always put down controversial details of a child’s past when they’re gathering information to share with prospective carers. While some details may be left out for privacy reasons, omissions are often made in order to secure an adoption or fostering placement so that unsavoury or potentially awkward details don’t put prospective carers off from taking on a child.
This site has seen several cases where councils have failed to tell potential carers that the children they are considering looking after are embroiled in appeals launched by their biological parents who hope to have their children returned to them.
Any wilful omission by the council could make up the core of the Jones’ claim against the local authority, who they may argue prevented them from making an informed decision about looking after Ahmed, and crucially, may have put their lives at risk.
Surrey County council is defending the claim. Holding their position is likely to be fraught for the local authority.
A review last June into how much police and other authorities knew about Hassan revealed a catalogue of errors by police and social services. The review confirms that the council’s social workers were not properly trained to work with radicalised children and further evidence given at Hassan’s trial confirmed that Hassan had spoken to immigration officials about his training and had also spoken about his mental health problems.
Penny told the BBC: “How was it our fault they put him here, they didn’t tell us the truth, they should have been honest with us to start with.”
“We’ve lost everything, we’ve lost our income, we’ve lost our will to get up in the morning, because our life has revolved around children for over 40 years. Our life is empty.”