Dana Baker - Countdown to tragedy

Dana Baker - Countdown to tragedy

Dana Baker - Countdown to tragedy

First published in News

December 2008: Dana, then aged 14 and a pupil at Wolverley CE Secondary School, reveals to school nurses that she is in a relationship with her karate instructor, Jaspal Riat, aged in his 40s. But she later retracts that and, after an investigation by police and social services, no action is taken.

April 2009: Dana shouts out in a school English lesson that she is having an affair with the karate instructor. Deputy head teacher Vicki Blake says the teenager’s parents told her they believed that, when they allowed her to stay overnight at Riat’s home, other people had been there and they felt ‘very stupid’ about that.

May 6 2009: Dana takes an overdose at her family home in Wolverley, near Kidderminster, and is found by her father, Trevor. Her wheelchair bound mother, Patricia, gives her CPR, and Dana is taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

May to September 2009: Dana is treated at the Darwin psychiatric unit in Stoke-on-Trent. Social services are concerned about her returning to her parents because they had allowed her to stay at Riat’s home. Dana is taken into care and she is placed with a foster carer in Worcester.

October 2009: Dana starts at Bishop Perowne School, Worcester, and is put in the top ‘sets’. Staff know that Dana had self-harmed and had been treated following a suicide attempt. But no assessment of her risks is carried out until after she slashes her arms with a pair of scissors in the school toilets. Dana’s placement with foster carer Jo Slater comes to an end after the teenager tries to hang herself from a tree in the garden while Mrs Slater’s grandchild is visiting.

September 2010: Dana, by then just turned 16 and with new foster carers, Tara Kelly and Dan Hulbert in Kidderminster, starts as an A Level student at Stourport High School and Sixth Form Centre.

January 2011: Dana tries to hang herself from the trampoline in her foster carers’ garden but is interrupted.

February 27 2011: Dana takes exception to an extended member of her foster family and gives them an ultimatum for her carers to choose between her and the relative.

March 1: Dana goes to stay with her friend Mrs Sally King to calm down.

March 2 2011: After a traumatic day in which Dana is told she cannot return to her beloved foster carers, social workers take the ‘hysterical’ teenager to Kidderminster Hospital amid threats she will kill herself. But, by the time she sees an out-of-hours GP Dr Shabnam Taj, she is calm, though tearful, and the doctor believes she is not at ‘high risk’ but will need further assessment. That night, Dana self harms.

March 3 2011: Dana becomes desperate at the loss of her foster family and phones and text messages staff at the Child Care Bureau foster agency. At 5pm she is found hanging from a tree near the Worcester Road island in Kidderminster by Roger Metcalfe, who is walking his dog while his partner goes shopping in the nearby Netto store. In a phone call to the agency’s deputy head of service, Howard Verran, she says ‘goodbye’ because he has taken away her foster family. And in a text to the foster carers’s former social worker, Clare Baxendale – opened only after Dana’s death - she says how ‘alone and abandoned’ she feels. September 2011: Karate instructor Jaspal Riat, then aged 49, who ran the KoshinRyu Academy of Martial Arts in Birmingham, is jailed for eight years for sexually abusing Dana from February 2008, when she was only 13, until May 2009. He is convicted at Gloucester Crown Court of eight offences with the help of video testimony Dana had recorded.

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