Former care worker Lauran Castle was found guilty of killing one-year-old Leiland-James Corkhill because he wouldn’t stop crying.
Leiland-James was a looked-after child in Cumbria, and had been placed for adoption with Lauran and he husband Scott Castle. Social services were aware that Castle had decided she didn’t love Leiland-James and had called him a spate of awful names, including “top t***” and “s*** bag”, while her husband had called him a d*** baby”, “fat s***” and “toss bag”.
In one text message exchange published by Manchester Evening News, Scott said, ” I think he’s a little too f***ed up for us to handle. Let’s just call it quits. I don’t want you to have a mental break down. Your more important to me than him.”
Lauran also admitted to hitting the baby during an earlier exchange.
Little Leiland-James died on January 7 due to what medical experts told the court was a degree of force which would have been “severe” and most likely a combination of shaking and hitting the child against a solid surface.
While social services knew there were issues and had been made aware of Lauran’s feelings towards the baby, a clear reluctance to engage in the exercise of a new placement meant that the local authority staff left Leiland-James with Lauran, despite having decided they wouldn’t be approving the adoption.
Abuse at the hands of foster carers and prospective adopters is not uncommon.
According to the latest government data, fostered children in England made 1,585 allegations of abuse against their foster carers from 2020 to 2021, while a further 1,015 complaints about suspected child abuse perpetrated by foster carers were made by “other sources” according to Ofsted’s “Fostering in England” release published in November. The sources were not identified in the release.
Some children like Leiland-James are too small to raise their voices, while others remain afraid to speak out. And nothing is mentioned by local authorities and adoption agencies about the very sophisticated level of care children inside the system need. It is not ‘basic’ parenting — which is hard enough at the best of times — or parenting for people who don’t have the ability or don’t want to dedicate their lives to learning how to care for a truly unique little person with a large set of needs.
Rest in peace lovely Leiland-James.