Sheffield MP says boy stabbed to death after being 'exploited' by gangs was failed by 'every conceivable authority’

An ‘exploited’ boy who was fatally stabbed aged just 15 was failed by ‘every conceiveable authority,’ a Sheffield MP has said, following the publication of a damning report.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 6:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 6:15 pm

Samuel Baker died a matter of minutes after being stabbed twice by another 15-year-old boy in a violent altercation in Lowedges Road, Lowedges on May 24. 2018.

A serious case review (SCR), which examined Samuel’s education arrangements and his ‘escalating involvement’ in crime in the run up to his death, found the teen was ‘exploited’ by gangs after being left out of education.

The independent review, complied by the Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB), was published today and concluded there was ‘learning for all agencies’.

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Louise Haigh MP says Samuel Baker was let down by 'every conceivable authority'.

Commenting on the SCR, Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh said Samuel ‘fell through the gaps’ and suggested his tragic death ‘could have been prevented’.

“This dreadful case was utterly foreseeable and could have been prevented. I raised my concerns repeatedly prior to his tragic death.

“The child was known to every conceivable authority, and every conceivable authority failed him.”

“This young boy fell through the gaps in the system and authorities must urgently take steps to make the changes necessary to provide support to other vulnerable youngsters in the city in need.

“Austerity has also clearly undermined the ability of Sheffield’s service to protect the most vulnerable youngsters. As a city we cannot stand for this, our young people deserve much better. We must use this moment to learn the lessons that we have too long ignored and never let this happen again,” she said.

The review made a number of recommendations including an escalation process for children who are not on the school roll and a multi-agency response to ‘criminal exploitation and youth violence’.

David Ashcroft, Independent Chair of the SSCB, said ‘there are other children living in these circumstances and there is a need for us all to do something different and better’.

The SCR also contained a tribute to the tragic youngester from his mother.

She said: “My son was a cheerful, energetic and happy child! His powerful voice of laughter filled the rooms in our home with joy.

“His big eyes could penetrate and know when something was wrong. His football coach remembered him as a hardworking, passionate and reliable football player.

“He loved going to Sunday school and was an active participant in helping out. He had a big heart and a giving spirit that was expressed in so many ways to his family and friends.

“He was my calm! Forever missing his presence and innocent attitude.

“Forever missing his hugs and kisses. Forever missing his immeasurable smile. Forever missing the Happy Go Lucky Child who lived his life fearless!”

Samuel’s killer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was jailed for 32 months in October 2018, after admitting to his manslaughter.

Due to the four months the boy, who is now 17-years-old, spent on remand he is likely to have been released by autumn last year, if not before.

During the sentencing hearing at Sheffield Crown Court, Samuel’s sister, Terrasha, said her family ‘had no forgiveness’ for his killer.

Tarrasha said Samuel’s life was taken in a ‘barbaric’and ‘savage’ way which was ‘beyond traumatic’ for the family.

“We know he died suffering. His death cannot be justified and it’s inexcusable,” she said.

She continued: “Despite what everyone thinks of Samuel, he was not a bad teenager. We know a different side to Samuel. Samuel was on the top team of his football team, and looked forward to competing in weekly matches.”

As he sent Samuel’s killer to prison, Mr Justice Nicklin praised Samuel’s family for their ‘dedicated and determined’ efforts to steer the teen away from trouble.