Lauren Wright aged 6
Lauren Wright aged 6
Norfolk social services
Social worker 'saw girl's bruises'
A court has heard that a six-year-old girl allegedly killed by her stepmother and father was examined by social workers less than two months before the child died.
Lauren Wright was found dead at her home in Welney, Norfolk, on 6 May, 2000.
Prosecutors say she had been struck so hard in the stomach that her digestive system had collapsed.
Tracey Wright, 31, and Craig Wright, 38, both of Welney, Norfolk, deny manslaughter and wilful neglect.
A member of staff at Norfolk County Council's social services department told a jury at Norwich Crown Court that an examination had found injuries believed to be "non-accidental".
Medical examinations had been carried out on Lauren by the social services department in March 2000 after neighbours raised concerns about her welfare.
Social workers' assistant Charlotte Coates said she was present when a doctor examined Lauren and saw bruises on several parts of her body.
Ms Coates said the girl had bruises on her torso, arms, and on the back of her legs.
She said after the examination a social worker, Claire Mann, made it clear to Tracey Wright that the injuries were believed to be non-accidental.
"She (Ms Mann) explained that the injuries that Lauren had sustained were what would be described as non-accidental injuries and she explained what was meant by that," said Ms Coates.
Ms Coates told the court Lauren was then left in Tracey Wright's care while arrangements for further checks were made.
Ms Coates said she had an appointment to see Tracey Wright on May 8 - two days after Lauren died.
Lauren Wright was found dead on 6th May 2000 after suffering a fatal blow to the stomach from her stepmother, which caused her digestive system to collapse. Lauren was described as "a cheerful little girl with nothing but trust and a ready smile". Her stepmother starved her. Aged 6 at her death, Lauren's weight was half the average for a 3-year-old. Her stepmother forced her to eat insects and pepper sandwiches, made her stand in front of a fire until she screamed with pain, and beat her severely.
Lauren had a life of unimaginable misery. Emaciated, with 60 bruises on her back, arms, shoulders and legs, her death was slow and agonising. Lauren's stepmother was found guilty of manslaughter, as was her father, who had turned a blind eye to her abuse.
One villager from her home of Welney in Norfolk stated that a year before the death he had seen her stepmother, in the street, punch Lauren on the head with "incredible" force, knocking her to the ground. The stepmother had walked on, and the little girl had got up with silent tears streaming down her face, and chased after her stepmother.
The villager had felt "sick to his stomach" but had not reported the incident because "he didn't want to get involved".