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'Missed opportunities' on murder

There were "numerous missed opportunities" to protect a teenage mother who was stabbed and left to die in a canal by her 17-year-old boyfriend, a serious case review (SCR) has said.

But social services managers said that Laura Wilson's murder could not have been prevented by agencies involved with her.

Laura, 17, was murdered by Ashtiaq Asghar in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, after she told his family about their relationship. Asghar was told he would serve at least 17-and-a-half years behind bars after he admitted murdering Laura in October 2010.

The SCR into her case detailed her troubled life and said that she was involved with 15 different services at one time or another.

In an executive summary, the report author said: "There were numerous missed opportunities to work with and protect (Laura) and (her baby). Assessments of (Laura) did not lead to an effective plan of care which resulted in a lack of leadership, coordination and progress and a failure to recognise her real level of vulnerability."

It said there was a picture of "mixed performance" in meeting the needs of Laura and her child, adding: "A combination of factors, including organisational, systems, workforce, cultural factors and individual deficient practice impacted on the care provided for (Laura)."

The report went on: "However, there are areas of considerable concern. Of significance is that the care of (Laura) did not focus on her and her needs. She was almost invisible to some services."

Rotherham Safeguarding Children's Board said it had already acted on many of the recommendations made to ensure lessons are learned from Laura's murder.

Alan Hazell, chair of the Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: "It is vital that agencies learn from what happened here and there is clearly a commitment in Rotherham to make that happen. As the report comments, there are already many initiatives in place to ensure that services are now improved."

Asghar had a relationship with Laura, who had a four-month-old daughter with his friend Ishaq Hussain. He killed the teenager just days after she revealed her affairs with the two men to their families. Asghar, of Holmes Lane, Holmes, Rotherham, lured Laura to the canal side near the Meadowhall Shopping Centre and attacked her with a knife he was carrying.

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