Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Mother facing life for son's murder

Rebecca Shuttleworth has been convicted of murdering her two-year-old son

A mother is facing a life sentence for murdering her two-year-old son after professionals failed to take action to save him from months of "horrifying" ill-treatment and abuse.

Rebecca Shuttleworth was described as a "monster" by a senior detective after being convicted of murdering Keanu Williams and four counts of child cruelty.

Shuttleworth, who will be sentenced on Tuesday at Birmingham Crown Court, beat Keanu to death after apparently convincing her support worker that she had turned her life around.

The 25-year-old is also known to have explained away numerous injuries to her son by saying he had been fighting with siblings or was clumsy.

A serious case review into Keanu's death, which is expected to examine social services contact with his mother, will be published in the near future.

In a statement issued after Shuttleworth was unanimously convicted following a six-month trial, the chair of Birmingham's Safeguarding Children Board acknowledged that chances to take action had been missed.

Jane Held, the independent chair of the multi-agency Board, said: "This is an extremely sad case and my sympathies are with those who knew Keanu.

"The person responsible for his death has been held to account; following a trial Keanu's mother Rebecca Shuttleworth has been convicted of murder. Her partner Luke Southerton has been convicted of wilful assault."

Ms Held added: "It is already clear that there are lessons to learn from how various agencies worked together to support Keanu and his family. The serious case review into Keanu's death will now be completed and will be published shortly."

Keanu, whose body showed 37 external marks of injury, was pronounced dead on January 9, 2011, after paramedics arrived at Southerton's flat in Old Moat Way, Ward End. Southerton, 32, and Shuttleworth, formerly of Hay Mills, Birmingham, both denied any involvement in Keanu's death at their trial.

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