Toddler's killer 'could not have been stopped'
A TODDLER'S murder at the hands of his mother's boyfriend could not have been prevented, an investigation has revealed. Scott Hepburn had been left alone with little Ashley Johnson when he 'flipped' because the 18-month-old youngster would not stop crying.
The 33-year-old – who is now serving a life sentence for murder – threw the boy on the floor and twice smashed his head against a wall.
Hepburn then coolly covered up the crime by putting Ashley back into his cot, pretending to the boy's mother he was just sleepy.
Visiting the Home & Garden show this Sunday?
We will have some exclusive deals for you so make sure you visit our stand and say hello
Terms: With free entry just visit the show at the Moat House hotel Festival Park between 11am and 4pm and pick up a leaflet
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Sunday, June 23 2013
It was only when Samantha Knox later discovered her son was not breathing that the emergency services were alerted. Paramedics arrived at the home in Woodgate Street, Meir, but were unable to save him.
Now a serious case review into Ashley's death on January 27 last year has been published by Stoke-on-Trent Safeguarding Children Board.
The report states that Hepburn would not have come under scrutiny because he had no history of violence.
However, the report speaks of 'missed opportunities' in monitoring the vulnerable youngster's family.
The report states: "There were delays in transferring data, a lack of professional curiosity, a lack of lateral checks particularly across local authority boundaries, and a failure to take a holistic approach in respect of assessing the welfare and safety of all the children in the family."
Hepburn, of Fenpark Road, Fenton, pleaded guilty to murder at Stafford Crown Court in November.
He must serve 15 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.