Waltham Council set to implement lessons learned from murder of teenager Jaden Moodie

Fifteen months after the murder of 14-year-old Jaden Moodie, Waltham Forest Council is launching a new tool to help identify if young people are in danger of violence.

Jaden was knocked off his moped and stabbed to death in Leyton on January 8 last year, nine months after his family moved to the borough from Nottingham.

On December 18 last year, 19-year-old Ayoub Majdouline was sentenced to life in prison for the murder, believed to have been motivated by Jaden’s association with the Beaumont Crew gang.

A report on Jaden’s death released in May noted the council did not act after Jaden was found in a Bournemouth crack den or respond to an email from his mother saying he was in danger.

Speaking at the children and families scrutiny committee on September 9, Cllr Terry Wheeler (Lab, Cathall) said: “The thing that strikes me is how un-joined up everything was.

“That seems to be the colossal failure with it, that the people on the ground perhaps were not allowed to talk to each other.

“We ought to know in this borough pretty well what happens to all the children from the age of zero to 25.”

The report released in May highlighted that some of the council’s work around Jaden “could have been given greater priority” if it had been more widely recognised that he was at risk.

The author wrote: “I am thinking here in particular of the response to the family’s housing needs, where as I have calculated, settlement could have been reached two months earlier.

“Information exchange was not always good, a fact exacerbated by his living in Nottinghamshire and then Waltham Forest.”

After learning from his death, the council is launching a new tool on Monday (September 28) that will allow council workers dealing with adolescents to easily check if they may be in danger.

Information from teams dealing with schools, children’s social care and youth offending will be combined into one database, making it easy to spot if another officer has seen warning signs.

Similarly, three different panels – which dealt with criminal exploitation, sexual exploitation and missing children respectively – will now combine into one “exclusion and risk panel”.

Other new initiatives include a service to reach out to children admitted to Whipps Cross or Royal London Hospitals with stab wounds or similar injuries.

The council has also joined Operation Harbinger, meaning its multi-agency safeguarding team is notified within an hour whenever a child from the borough is taken into police custody.

Speaking to the children and families scrutiny committee on September 9, Cllr Grace Williams, cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “When something like this happens, obviously it’s a real shock and we have to learn how we can do better.

“It’s very hard work to keep focusing on the child and make sure everyone involved in services gets that. One thing that’s really clear is how much work is already underway.”

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter