Sunday, 25 May 2008

Deraye Lewis

Deraye Lewis died aged 3 on new years day 2005.

Deraye lived in Dunstable, Milton Keynes with his mother, Donna Humphrey, and her boyfriend, Nicholas Halling. Social workers in Bedfordshire were tipped off that Halling was abusing Deraye some six months before he was brutally murdered. Mistake number one came when they, social services, failed to pick up the signs of Halling's racist attacks, which included stubbing out cigarettes on the little Deraye's body and calling him racist names. Instead they believed the cover-up stories from terrified mum Donna, even when, according to sources, she presented herself "black and blue" with bruises from Halling's attacks on her. Three months before Deraye's death, Donna finally admitted Halling was beating her and fled to safety in Milton Keynes.

Mistake number two came when Bedfordshire social services omitted to pass the information on to Milton Keynes social services, though they stated clearly on her emergency housing application that she was 'fleeing domestic violence'.

This led to mistake number three – when Milton Keynes housing department failed to inform their own colleagues in social services that they had moved a vulnerable mum and child into a house in Bletchley's Osborne Street. Thus when Deraye's mother Donna rekindled the relationship with Halling, not one official noticed. The violence continued, on the eve of new year 2005 Donna Humprey called the police over an assult allegation against Halling (which she later withdrew). The police noticed on arrival that Deraye had been crying but could see no obvious injuries so they left unaware of the previous history of Deraye, Donna and Hallings. Deraye spent the rest of the day complaining of stomach ache and being sick and neighbours heard Halling shout: "That fucking baby is spoiling my life. We can't do anything without him spoiling things."Hours later, on New Year's Day morning 2005, Donna woke up to find the Deraye dying in bed beside her.

Deraye was taken to Milton Keynes hospital where he died later that day. More than 73 injuries were found on his tiny body. His bowel had been ruptured, his eardrum perforated, the surface of his brain bruised and his skin burned with cigarettes. Mr Justice Hughes told Halling as he ordered him to serve a minimum of 20 years, that It was 'abundantly clear' that Deraye had been treated with 'contempt, hostility and violence' over a period of at least a year. He said"You were intolerant, abusive, domineering and you hit him many times, if not habitually, on the head. "You called him names that were very offensive and racially charged."

Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes social services departments admitted they should have acted differently. A MK council spokesman said "Unmistakably there needs to be much clearer cross-border communication between different authorities in cases like this. All the agencies involved have learned lessons,"(yeah right how many times have we heard this!!!!!!!)It should also be noted that Halling was under the supervision of a probation officer at the time and had convictions dating back to when he was aged 11.

RIP Daraye Lewis your safe from harm now, you have lots of other special little angels to play with.

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