Probe into why woman who kept boy in cage was still allowed to look after kids

A woman who tried to sell a baby for £1m was caught with a toddler in a cage after a four-year-old boy jumped out of a window in her home.

Police arrested 34-year-old Claire Boyle after the child was found wandering the streets in the rain in just his pyjamas in Ayrshire, Scotland.

A two-year-old boy was discovered trapped in a modified cot while in the care of Boyle who had twice been banned from looking after children, the Daily Record reports.

The older boy was taken to hospital where medics found so many bruises they thought he may have a blood clotting disorder or cancer.

An investigation is now underway after social services were blasted as she was convicted for child neglect for the third time.

Boyle was first convicted after police found her under the influence of drink or drugs on a couch with a distressed months-old baby at her feet in 2013.

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Two years later a court heard she’d tried to sell a youngster in Ayr High Street for £1million. She had also shaken the boy, shouted at him and abandoned him in a "damp and draughty" close in the town, Ayr Sheriff Court was told.

Ayrshire social workers are now assessing if the abuse involving the cage could have been prevented.

A source close to the probe said: "She should never have been allowed anywhere near any child after her first neglect conviction.

"She was allowed to still look after children – it’s madness. The whole sorry situation sums up how broken the system really is.

"To say they failed would be an understatement. If they’d done their jobs properly, this would never have happened."

Social workers were meant to be regularly seeing any children Boyle was in charge of weren't being abused following her two bans in 2014 and 2015.

Boyle and partner Timothy Johnstone, 57, were convicted of neglect following a trial at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last week.

The case has been adjourned for background reports to be prepared ahead of sentencing.

South Ayrshire Council confirmed that a review of their handling of the children’s safety is now underway.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: "The safety and wellbeing of children is always a priority.

"A Significant Case Review has been launched in partnership with East Ayrshire Council, the review is being led by Professor Paul Martin, chair of the Child Protection Committee.

"Since the review is underway, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time."

Marion MacAulay, head of children’s health, care and justice services at East Ayrshire Council said: "We are aware of the circumstances surrounding these children and we are working with the relevant agencies in accordance with national guidance.

"We launched a Significant Case Review in partnership with South Ayrshire Council as soon as the circumstances were made known to us.

"Given the ongoing review, it is not appropriate for us to make further comment."

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