Further claims have been made that major warning signs were missed prior to the murder of Fife toddler Liam Fee.
Evidence uncovered by the BBC suggests that a social worker had visited the two-year-old’s home after hospital staff raised concerns about his welfare, but no action was taken and the visit was not mentioned in a summary of an official investigation into his death.
Liam was killed at his home in Thornton in March 2014 after suffering a catalogue of abuse at the hands of his mother Rachel Fee and her partner Nyomi Fee.
A previous documentary suggested there were a number of missed opportunities by authorities to perhaps intervene, even though a significant case review into Liam’s case concluded that his death could not have been prevented.
However, new evidence that the social worker’s visit was not included in the published review has sparked renewed concern over authorities’ handling of the case – and whether or not Liam might have survived had action been taken.
Barbara Barnes, a former Fife Council social worker, said she took a call from a staff member at Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital in relation to the toddler.
She told the BBC: “It was from a member of staff at Victoria Hospital who was saying that they’d had a family down.
“This couple – and she did say it was two women – had a toddler in a buggy, with a blanket over his head.
“She asked to see the toddler, and the two women refused point blank to let her see this baby.”
Ms Barnes added that she organised another social worker to pay a visit to the family home following the concerns raised, and checked the social work computer system to see what had happened after she arranged the visit.
She said: “I’d gone in and I checked, and my note was there, and the visit had been conducted because there was a note there from the duty worker for the other team, who went out.
“I can’t remember the exact words, but it was to the effect that the child was in the bedroom, he’d asked could he see the child.
“These two women had refused, saying that he suffered from autism and if he went in, seeing a strange man would upset him, and it’d take them hours to calm him down again.
“So the notes then indicated that he hadn’t seen this child.”
The latest revelations are likely to lead to renewed calls for a fuller inquiry into the circumstances leading up to Liam’s death.
Ms Barnes, who has now left Fife Council, told the BBC that the omission of these events from the published summary was a concern.
“It matters in that it’s not a true reflection of the situation involving this little boy’s death,” she said.
“In terms of it being recorded or not, it won’t bring that wee boy back to life. But it might make a difference for the next child, if it was recorded.”
Steve Grimmond, chairman of the Fife Chief Officers’ Public Safety Group, said: “Some details were not included in the Learning Summary to protect the privacy of others involved.
“That privacy is still important today. And that means we cannot respond to questions about specific incidents that are not contained in the Learning Summary.
“However, it’s important to point out that the case was not closed at the time of Liam’s death, and that all matters pertaining to Liam were fully considered by the independent lead reviewer in coming to her conclusions.
“This included reading all case files and interviewing staff who were involved with this case.”