THURROCK Council have launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Daniel Thomas in Darnley Road last year.
Mr Thomas was fatally stabbed thirty three times by his lodger and teenage prostitute Priscilla Scamp. Scamp received a life sentence at Chelmsford Crown Court last week with a recommendation she serve a minimum, of eighteen years.
The investigation led by former top Thurrock cop, Graham Carey is standard procedure following the death of a “vulnerable” person.
A Thurrock Council spokesperson said: “This was a tragedy. The victim had some contact with local services. Now the court case has been concluded, our local Adults Safeguarding Board will be undertaking a review. This review will be led by the independent chair of the board, Mr Graham Carey.”
The investigation may be able to shed light on a number of questions that came up during the two week court case.
The court heard that 59-year-old Mr Thomas was given the council flat in October 2009 after a period of homelessness.
At that time, he was allocated to Ben Beasant, a floating support worker from Family Mosaic with seven years experience.
A statement from Mr Beasant was read out in court where he detailed his duties with Mr Thomas.
Mr Beasant described how he helped manage Mr Thomas’s benefits, gas bills and any other related issues. Mr Thomas received three hours support per week.
Mr Beasant’s statement then included a blistering attack on Mr Thomas. He stated that he was “lazy”, “the world owed him a living” and “ranting and raving.”
Industry experts have expressed their shock that an experienced professional such as Mr Beasant would make such comments regarding a vulnerable client especially in the light that witness after witness at the murder trial expressed concerns over Mr Thomas’ mental and physical well-being with some believing he had Parkinsons Disease while others thought he had tumours.
A source said: “There is a fundamental code that you treat your clients with unconditional professional regard. This doesn’t appear to match up.”
A spokesperson for Family Mosaic said: “We are satisfied that our floating support worker generally carried out his duties professionally in providing Mr Thomas with the necessary support to sustain his tenancy.
“Any personal comments made informally about Mr Thomas will be dealt with by the relevant line manager at Family Mosaic”.
But the questions do not stop there. In his statement, Mr Beasant stated that he “handed over” Mr Thomas over to a Tracey Wilkins on the 31st March.
However, Family Mosaic stated that they have no trace of such a person. YourThurrock have also asked Thurrock Council who also drew a blank.
The next question focusses on the dates April 1st 2010 to May 14th 2010.
An investigation may well want to know who from Family Mosaic was caring for Mr Thomas between those dates?
Mr Thomas was murdered on the 13th April, 2010 but his body lay undiscovered until May 14th.
The police received a phone call from neighbour John Ashdown. One of the first people at the scene was locksmith William Shelton.
Mr Shelton’s evidence stated that he saw “blood all over the lock” as well as “a lot of Family Mosaic calling cards” on the floor in the flat.”
YourThurrock has asked Family Mosaic the following questions:
1. Could you detail, how many visits were made to Mr Thomas’s house between April 1st and May 14th.
2. Apart from one instance (23/12) Mr Thomas was always in for Mr Beasant. Indeed neighbours and friends have stated that he was always in.
a. What steps were taken by the support worker engaged from April 1st to alert other authorities regarding the fact that for six weeks, Mr Thomas had not responded to house calls?
b. Did you engage with Thurrock Council, Essex Police and/or contact neighbours?
3. Since the discovery of Mr Thomas’ body, have you, either alone or jointly, conducted any form of enquiry relating to procedures and/or practice in relation to this case.
Family Mosaic have declined to comment.
YourThurrock has spoken to neighbours in Darnley Road but they did not receive any enquires from Family Mosaic as to the whereabouts of Mr Thomas.
But the investigation led by Thurrock Council may want to have a wider remit.
A number of witnesses on court referred to Mr Thomas’s Grays flat as “The shop”. They stated that they visited his flat as it was a place to buy cannabis and cocaine at any time of day.
Witnesses stated that at one time there was over a kilo of coke and cannabis in the flat.
The flat also seemed to be a home for a number of teenage girls including, fatally, Priscilla Scamp, who, the court heard, sold sexual favours to Mr Thomas and offered them to other males.
Other witnesses stated that they saw fourteen year old girls pole dancing in the flat.
The trial revealed that Mr Thomas had a string of convictions for sex offences committed against females under the age of 18.
The investigation will no doubt want to hear from Family Mosaic and the other agencies as to what information they possessed and what information was passed on. Many people will want to know what safeguarding procedures took place.
The bottom line will be, could anyone have taken action that could have prevented the savage murder of Mr Thomas as well as prevented a situation that led to a teenage girl falling into a life of drug taking prostitution and murder?