There are calls for a nationwide independent inquiry into children’s services in Wales to prevent tragedies like the murder of Logan Mwangi murder from happening again.
The five-year-old was killed by his mother, step-father and 14-year-old step-brother, having been subjected to injuries likened to child abuse by a High Court judge.
Angharad Williamson, 31, and John Cole, 40, were jailed for life while teenager Craig Mulligan was detained for at least 15 years.
They were all sentenced on Thursday having been convicted of murder by a jury following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court.
A social services investigation is now under way into the circumstances of Logan’s death as Mulligan had only returned to the care of Cole just five days before the murder in July last year in Sarn, Bridgend, South Wales.
In England, a national review into the murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, six, and one-year-old Star Hobson has begun, and calls have been made for a similar inquiry in Wales.
Welsh Conservative Gareth Davies said he was “surprised” First Minister Mark Drakeford had rejected the plea as Logan’s death had “exposed some serious shortcomings”.
Plaid Cymru’s Heledd Fychan said Wales was now the “outlier” as it was the only nation in the UK not undertaking a review.
And Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds said lessons must be learned “so that it never happens again”.
The Welsh Government said it would “closely consider” the results of a children’s services inspection and a review of events before Logan’s death.
“This is a tragic case and our thoughts remain with everyone affected by Logan’s death, particularly his family,” a spokesman said.
“We await the findings of the recent inspection of Bridgend County Borough Council Children’s services, conducted by Care Inspectorate Wales.
“As well as the completion of the child practice review to look at the events prior to Logan’s death.
“All findings and recommendations will be closely considered by the Welsh Government.”
Logan, a previously “smiling, cheerful little boy”, was discovered in the River Ogmore in Pandy Park on the morning of July 31 2021.
Police found him partially submerged, wearing dinosaur pyjama bottoms and a Spider-Man top just 250 metres from his home.
The youngster had suffered 56 external cuts and bruises, and “catastrophic” internal injuries, which were likened to a high-speed road accident.
Medics made a safeguarding referral to the police after Logan suffered a broken arm in August 2020.
By March, due to concerns over Cole’s behaviour, Logan and his younger sibling had been assigned their own social worker.
In June, a month before Logan died, the family were removed from the child protection register, meaning it was believed there was no longer a risk of significant harm.
Williamson and Cole were jailed for a minimum of 28 and 29 years respectively, while Mulligan sentenced to youth detention.
Last month, the First Minister rejected calls in the Senedd from the Liberal Democrats for a review, saying it was not the “moment to commission such an inquiry” as the investigation into Logan’s death was yet to report.
Gareth Davies, Welsh Conservative shadow social services minister, said: “As I said when Logan’s killers were convicted, I was surprised that the First Minister said he didn’t think an independent review of children’s services was needed in Wales after this tragic case exposed some serious shortcomings.
“This is all the more confusing given the other three UK nations are conducting one right now and Wales has the worst rate for looked-after children.
“These cases should never be allowed to occur and vulnerable children deserve the full protection of the state and I do not understand why Mark Drakeford’s government says no to reviewing children’s services but yes to expanding the Senedd with more politicians in Cardiff Bay.”
Heledd Fychan, who represents the South Wales Central region for Plaid, said: “Wales is the outlier – and now the only nation in the UK that isn’t undertaking a review. It just isn’t good enough.
“Plaid Cymru believes that the rights of the child should be brought fully into Welsh law.”
Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds, who worked for over 25 years as a child protection social worker, said: “This case is utterly tragic and we must ensure lessons are learned so that it never happens again.
“More is needed to help social workers to do their job and a chief social worker for children is needed – as they have in England.
“Both Scotland and England are carrying out independent inquiries into the state of children’s social services in their jurisdiction. There is no reason for Wales not to do the same.”