Social workers in Lancashire have been ordered by a top judge to return two young children to their parents after ruling they were wrong to take them into care.
But the county council is refusing to comment on the case of the three-year-old and one-year-old girls who were taken away from their parents last year following the unexplained death of their sister.
“Our role in this case isn’t anything we would be able to publicly comment on,” said a spokesperson at County Hall.
Mr Justice Peter Jackson said he had found no reason during an eight-day High Court hearing to suggest the children should stay in care.
The girls’ father, accused of accidentally suffocating one of 16-week-old twins by rolling onto her as they slept on a sofa, was exonerated by the judge.
The court heard that LCC pointed the finger at the father and as a result the little girl’s identical twin sister was removed from the family home along with her older sister.
Social workers highlighted the fact that the twins’ older sister had been taken to hospital with a serious head injury in 2011. They argued that the father and the children’s mother ‘knew more than they were saying’ about how she suffered a fractured skull.
Describing the couple as ‘very close, intelligent, hard-working and aspirational,’ Mr Justice Jackson said they were of good character and deserved to be believed. A post mortem had recorded the cause of death as ‘unascertained’. “My conclusion is that we simply do not know when or why she died, nor has it been proved that either of the parents know,” he said. “A finding against the parents would be based on speculation or suspicion, which would be impermissible and wrong.
“The sleeping arrangements that were made for such small babies were obviously unwise, but that does not cross the threshold for intervention. With some hesitation I find that the parents’ account of events can be accepted. I cannot conclude that it is more probable than not that they are concealing a known incident. I therefore find the grounds for making care orders do not exist. In consequence, the children will return to the care of their parents”.