Murder of toddler Madison Horn '˜could not have been anticipated'

The murder of a toddler at the hands of her mother's partner could not have been anticipated, a case review has found.

Madison Horn.
Madison Horn.

Kevin Park was jailed for life for inflicting “horrific” injuries on Madison Horn as he babysat her at the family home in Kelty, Fife, in April 2014.

Park, who was in a relationship with Madison’s mother Annemarie White at the time, claimed she was hurt after falling from a bed.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

He had a history of violence and drug and alcohol problems.

Park was convicted after an eight-day trial.

No concerns about the two-year-old’s care or safety had been flagged to the authorities, and an independent review has found that Madison’s death “could not have been anticipated”.

The report, which refers to Madison as child A, said: “There was no evidence to suggest that any agency was aware of any concern regarding the child’s well-being at the time or previously.

“Neither child A nor her mother were known to social work at the time and NHS Fife health records described child A as being a well-adjusted child who was meeting all her developmental milestones.

“There was no incident of direct abuse toward children by the partner or the mother known or recorded.

Park was convicted after an eight-day trial.

“Whilst research evidence is clear that domestic abuse within a household is a risk indicator of direct physical abuse toward children, in this case no such abuse had taken place against the mother and there was no immediate reason to suspect the partner would behave in the way he did.”

Madison was admitted to hospital with brain and other injuries while in the care of Park, 27, who had been in a relationship with her mother for around five months.

The High Court in Glasgow heard evidence that he repeatedly hit Madison’s head against a wall.

The review found Park, who abused alcohol and drugs and had anger management problems, had a “long criminal history of violence” and was the subject of a community Payback Order (CPO) and a Restriction of Liberty Order (RLO) imposed by the courts.

Lead reviewer Safaa Baxter called for better information sharing and collaboration between agencies, including the criminal justice social work service and the children and families social work services.

The report said: “With prolific offenders, who are likely to move from one partner to another, it is important that information passed from criminal justice and children and families does more than inform but should lead to consideration of the need for joint risk assessments using tools available to both criminal justice and children services.”

Alan Small, independent chairman of Fife’s Child Protection Committee, said the death of Madison had “shocked and saddened all those who knew her”.

Responding to the report, he said: “There was no evidence to suggest that any agency was aware of any concerns.”