A report has cited a catalogue of failings by authorities after a mentally ill woman killed her four-year-old daughter.
Paranoid schizophrenic Chantelle Blake, 33, suffocated her daughter Kaiya with a pillow after suffering from “delusions and hallucinations”.
She was made the subject of a hospital order after pleading guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Manchester Crown Court last November.
A 65-page Serious Case Review report on behalf of Manchester Safeguarding Children Board criticised “poor judgment and a lack of robustness in managerial oversight” among some of the seven state agencies who had contact with the family.
Social services were first made aware of concerns for the child in July 2008 more than three years before her death when Blake said her daughter, then 18 months old, wanted to have a sexual relationship with her and that she was hearing voices.
Twice police used emergency powers, in July 2009 and October 2010, taking the child from her mother, but Kaiya was returned with “undue haste” the report said.
On both occasions Blake stripped her daughter naked because she said she wanted to check for signs of sexual abuse.
Parents, nursery staff and even housing association workmen at her flat repeatedly reported concerns but despite a “child protection plan”, conferences and strategy meetings there was a “fairly chaotic” approach to case planning, the report said.
Just two months before Kaiya was killed her mother was assessed by an experienced psychiatrist as having no symptoms indicative of a serious mental illness.
Each time medical opinion was sought Blake was considered not to have any enduring mental health problems, the report said.
But her own family said Blake had been mentally unwell for more than a decade.
She had been smoking cannabis since the age of 12 and what began as recreational use turned to dependency, they said.
Diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2005, the report cited expert evidence saying cannabis use often coincides with an exacerbation of psychosis.
On one occasion she hit Kaiya so hard at local shops, three members of the public called police.
And she told the child on another occasion at a police station: “It’s just me and you now; we will have to take each day as it comes and see how long we last. At least we know there is a place for us up there.”