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Coroner wants to know if system failed Dana at inquest
WORCESTERSHIRE Coroner Geraint Williams will be looking to establish if there were any individual or systematic failures during Dana Baker’s short life which could have contributed to her death.
Agencies including Worcestershire County Council, Worcestershire Safeguarding Children Board, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare Trust, the Childcare Bureau and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust were represented at a pre-inquest hearing on Tuesday.
All agencies are expected to provide witness statements regarding the case and GP records, psychiatric records, social services files and police records are also to be made available.
The inquest into the death of Miss Baker is scheduled for May next year but Mr Williams has yet to decide if it will be heard before a jury.
The former Stourport High School and Sixth Form Centre and Wolverley CE Secondary School student had a difficult relationship with her parents and went into voluntary foster care.
Her karate instructor Jaspal Riat, 49, is currently two years into an eight-year sentence for sexual assault and sexual activity with a child after abusing Miss Baker from the age of 13.
Miss Baker was also admitted to hospital following an overdose of prescribed drugs in May, 2009 and spent time at an adolescent mental health unit.
Miss Baker’s parents, Trevor and Patricia Baker, who is in a wheelchair following a car crash, were unable to sit in Worcestershire Coroner’s Court due to the lack of disabled access so watched the hearing via videolink.
Michael O’Brien, representing Miss Baker’s parents, revealed that the family only found out about a second case of sexual abuse suffered by Miss Baker last week after a probation officer told the couple the criminal was about to be released from prison.
He told the hearing: “That is information that they were shocked by. Why did no-one tell them about it? Who ought to have told them about it?
“This family has no trust in the state. Voluntarily, Dana was taken into care. She had a troubled childhood. Sometime later, when the family trusted she was being properly cared for, she was found hanged.”
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