"She would still be alive today" - relative slams Kingston Council 'negligence'

Surrey Comet: Che Cruz was murdered in her home by partner Asad Niazi after he was released from cells Che Cruz was murdered in her home by partner Asad Niazi after he was released from cells

Kingston Council social workers failed to help a mother hammered to death by her jealous lover in front of their daughter and then altered records, a leaked independent report has revealed.

Charito “Che” Cruz, 37, was twice referred to Kingston Council by the NSPCC before her murder in September 2011, amid concerns for her daughter.

Her partner Asad Niazi's murder trial heard he showed the couple's daughter pornography after a break-up in their relationship.

Abigail Pickering, a relative of Charito Cruz’s who looked after Ms Cruz’s daughter for 10 months following her death, said: “It is appalling. She would still be alive if they had dealt with it properly.

“I knew she had contacted the NSPCC and they told her to go to a [domestic violence] one-stop shop, but that is all I knew.

“[The council] covered its back and when the head of social care asked [them] to discipline the two social workers they ignored her.

“It is shocking for us to know about this. We cannot go back in time but we just hope it does not happen to anyone else.

“Unless they take action it is going to happen again and again.”

The Surrey Comet reported in December that an independent review had been launched into police and other agencies.

Ms Cruz’s friend Maravic Ayala wept in court last year as she recalled how she begged her friend not to return home after Niazi had been released from a night in the cells for smashing up her mobile phone with the same hammer he later murdered her with.

She said: “I'm begging her to stay at my place because I am really worried about their safety from Asad because she thought Asad was still in jail.

“She was crying and the last word she told me 'if you no longer contact me maybe Asad killed me already.'

“She was really scared.”

The report, leaked to the BBC, found a social services manager did not think the referral was serious enough to warrant a visit. The night Ms Cruz died, a manager had taken the referrals home to read.

Olivia Butler, former interim head of social care, who commissioned the report, told the BBC the altered records were “to cover up the lack of action and proper response”.

She said things could have been different, adding: “A visit to her, to the family, seeing her, it would have informed us that more help was needed."

Senior management, run by the then children’s director Duncan Clark, who resigned the day before a damning Ofsted report with a £128,000 pay-off, would not discipline staff, according to the report.

Mrs Butler resigned in protest.

Councillor Patricia Bamford, lead member for children’s services and Councillor Derek Osbourne were unavailable for comment.

Kingston Council said it would be inappropriate to comment while a domestic violence homicide review took place.

A spokesman said: "The domestic homicide review is overseen by an independent chairperson and is an inter-agency forum which will review the findings of each agency and develop an action plan.

"The review is informed by individually prepared internal management reviews from the different agencies."

Comments (5)

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1:44am Fri 25 Jan 13

Marple says...

Because of the lack of care and incompetency by those responsible,not only has a mother needlessly lost her life, but her daughter will grow up suffering visual horrific memories of
witnessing the terrible death of her mother.
At least Duncan Clark resigned- all the others involved including the Leader of the Council and the Executive member of Childrens Services should, if they have any spark of conscience do the decent thing and resign.
and also resign.
Because of the lack of care and incompetency by those responsible,not only has a mother needlessly lost her life, but her daughter will grow up suffering visual horrific memories of witnessing the terrible death of her mother. At least Duncan Clark resigned- all the others involved including the Leader of the Council and the Executive member of Childrens Services should, if they have any spark of conscience do the decent thing and resign. and also resign. Marple

10:24am Fri 25 Jan 13

eugenemillstop says...

Why did Duncan Clark get a six-figure pay-off if he resigned?? And how did he manage to walk straight in to a similar job with another council on a six-figure salary??? The whole thing stinks when those responsible like that are not accountable but instead get rewarded for their incompetence.
Why did Duncan Clark get a six-figure pay-off if he resigned?? And how did he manage to walk straight in to a similar job with another council on a six-figure salary??? The whole thing stinks when those responsible like that are not accountable but instead get rewarded for their incompetence. eugenemillstop

6:26pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Agamemnon & Cassandra says...

At the present time this is, quite understandably, a very emotional issue, which the press are, as one would expect, homing in on. I think the Council should be allowed to formulate their reply to this, and their proposals for the future, bearing in mind the ongoing investigations.

If their response does not stand up to scrutiny, then that will, quite rightly, incur further investigations.
At the present time this is, quite understandably, a very emotional issue, which the press are, as one would expect, homing in on. I think the Council should be allowed to formulate their reply to this, and their proposals for the future, bearing in mind the ongoing investigations. If their response does not stand up to scrutiny, then that will, quite rightly, incur further investigations. Agamemnon & Cassandra

12:39am Sat 26 Jan 13

Arthur B says...

"If their response does not stand up to scrutiny, then that will, quite rightly, incur further investigations."

Whose scrutiny? It's evident the council is only answerable to itself. And something tells me you already know this Agamemon & Cassandra.
"If their response does not stand up to scrutiny, then that will, quite rightly, incur further investigations." Whose scrutiny? It's evident the council is only answerable to itself. And something tells me you already know this Agamemon & Cassandra. Arthur B

12:58am Sat 26 Jan 13

George Plimpton says...

Let us also not forget that they have hidden this not only from the public but also from a criminal investigation.
Let us also not forget that they have hidden this not only from the public but also from a criminal investigation. George Plimpton

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