A CHANCE to protect a ‘frightened’ boy of 14 from drugs gangs was missed when he was found in a crack den about three months before his murder, a Serious Case Review has found.
Jaden Moodie, who was knocked off his scooter and stabbed to death in Leyton, east London, had been caught with crack cocaine at a Bournemouth flat in October 2018.
While in custody he asked if he could call the Samaritans.
And the ‘appropriate adult’ who sat with him in his police interview said he seemed a ‘vulnerable’ person who felt frightened after being coerced into involvement with county lines dealing.
It was a ‘reachable moment’ when specialist staff could have got through to him and turned him away from crime, according to the review. But the opportunity was missed as a result of ‘poor co-ordination’ between Dorset Police and the council in Waltham Forest, east London, where Jaden lived.
The review, which refers to Jaden as Child C, says: ‘Had it been possible for Child C to have met specialist child exploitation workers while still in custody, and then brought back to London by these workers… I believe such workers would have been able to start exploring with Child C the risks to him of his vulnerability to exploitation. But this was not the brief of the police officers who were providing a well-intended but basic service in driving Child C back to London.’
Police believed the Bournemouth flat was a ‘cuckoo’ property taken over by gangs as a base for dealing. Jaden, who was found with 39 wraps of crack, two larger packages of the drug, an unregistered mobile phone and £325 in cash, was arrested for having class A drugs with intent to supply.
His mother, Jada Bailey, was contacted to collect him, but she cannot drive. No one was available from Waltham Forest Council and so two officers drove Jaden home.
The council said it accepted all the review’s recommendations and now has a service to respond within 24 hours when a child is identified as a victim of criminal exploitation.
Jaden spent just three of the last 22 months of his life in school. A 19-year-old was jailed for life in December for his murder and four other men are still being hunted.