‘Lessons learned’ after tragic Archie Spriggs death

By Deborah Hardiman | Church Stretton | Crime | Published:

Shropshire Council insists lessons are being learned following the death of Archie Spriggs, whose mother was jailed for life for killing him.

Archie Spriggs

A serious case review carried out to look at the dealings of agencies with the seven-year-old’s family found there were missed opportunities to intervene on his behalf after his parents became embroiled in a bitter custody battle.

The schoolboy was murdered by his mother Lesley Speed, 45, at their home in Wall under Heywood near Church Stretton, on September 21 last year.

Ivan Powell, independent chairman of Shropshire Safeguarding Children Board, said the youngster’s tragic death will remain at the heart of lessons being learned.

Changes to the way cases are flagged up by professionals to the council’s children’s services are under way, after the report found that three opportunities were missed to fully assess the impact of the dispute on him.

Following Archie’s death the board commissioned a serious case review to consider the way in which agencies which had contact with the family worked both individually and together and to explore whether there is a need to improve the way they work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the county.

The findings included that when his father Matthew Spriggs raised issues over his welfare, he was generally treated differently to Speed.

Mr Powell said: “Professionals should approach cases with objectivity. They have to absolutely listen to what both parents have to say, ask probing questions and be reflective.

“Its is about securing a depth of understanding.


“I would say that the focus of the review is to identify where there is learning to be put in place so that families and children in particular don’t receive a different response in future.”

A key change will be the reporting method used by agencies to make referrals which will be introduced in the new year.

Mr Powell added that while children’s services has a “good” Ofsted rating, Archie’s family’s tragic experience highlighted a need for more work to be done.

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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