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Father of Shropshire schoolboy Archie Spriggs had raised alarm

By Jonny Drury | Church Stretton | Crime | Published:

The father of a murdered Shropshire schoolboy told an inquest hearing he raised concerns his mother would kill him just months before it happened.

Archie Spriggs

Seven-year-old Archie Spriggs was killed by his mother Lesley Speed, 44, at their home at Wall-under-Heywood near Church Stretton on September 21, 2017.

At the time she was involved in a custody battle with Archie's father, and was convicted of the schoolboy's murder and jailed for 18 years in March last year.

A hearing took place at Shirehall yesterday to decide whether an inquest into Archie's death should resume, and his father Matthew Spriggs said he had called Shropshire Council social services in June 2017 with concerns he believed Speed would kill his son.

Fredrick Powell, solicitor representing Mr Spriggs, told the inquest hearing that a call was made to social services, and Mr Spriggs said to the call handler: "What is it going to take for you to investigate my son? Broken bones, bruises, or my son to be killed?"

Mr Powell also said that although a serious case review published in December said Mr Spriggs raised concerns, it didn't state specific concerns that Speed would kill her son.

Shropshire Coroner John Ellery heard submissions to see if there was evidence that there was a "real and immediate" threat to Archie's life prior to his death.

Ben Bentley, solicitor for Shropshire Council, said the authority was at a neutral stance as to whether an inquest was to be resumed, with Mr Spriggs and his legal representative Mr Powell submitting evidence for an inquest to take place.

Mr Powell said a referral was made from the NSPCC to Shropshire Council in June 2017 raising concerns, and safeguarding procedures had not been followed.

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Mr Ellery said: "There is only one person responsible for Archie's death, but we need to look at whether the death could have been reasonably preventable."

He told Mr Bentley he wanted to know if the call made by Mr Spriggs to social services in June 2017 was recorded, and if so a copy given to him before he could come to any decisions.

Both parties will make further submissions, before Mr Ellery will return a decision on whether an inquest will take place, on April 2.

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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