Bedford social services criticised after girl, 4, was beaten to death by her dad

(FILE PHOTO) Collect photo of Alexa Wheatley and her father Carl. See MASONS story MNCUSTODY; The trial continues today of a father charged with murdering his four-year-old daughter. Carl Wheatley, 30, has been accused of killing Alexa-Marie Quinn at their home in Hatfield, Herts.  Paramedics rushed the youngster to Lister Hospital in nearby Stevenage but she passed away. Mr Wheatley, who also has a son, was charged with murder the next day. PNL-150429-145220001

(FILE PHOTO) Collect photo of Alexa Wheatley and her father Carl. See MASONS story MNCUSTODY; The trial continues today of a father charged with murdering his four-year-old daughter. Carl Wheatley, 30, has been accused of killing Alexa-Marie Quinn at their home in Hatfield, Herts. Paramedics rushed the youngster to Lister Hospital in nearby Stevenage but she passed away. Mr Wheatley, who also has a son, was charged with murder the next day. PNL-150429-145220001

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Bedford Borough Council has been slammed after a four-year-old girl was beaten to death by her sadistic father.

Little Alexa-Marie Quinn was the victim of a series of savage attacks by dad Carl Wheatley less than three months after the council recommended he have custody of her.

Wheatley, 31, caused the little girl 66 different injuries and knocked out two of her front teeth.

This week a safeguarding board published its findings of the case.

It told how Alexa-Marie was looked after by foster carers in Bedford in May 2013.

During that time concerns had been raised about Wheatley’s contact with his daughter. A psychiatric report also flagged up concerns about his behaviour in September that year, with a psychiatrist reporting she felt “intimidated” by him”.

But the same month a Bedford Borough social worker filed a report stating that Alexa-Marie should be taken out of foster care and placed with her father as soon as possible.

In October 2013 Luton County Court made a residency order in favour of Wheatley, said the safeguarding report.

Chairman of the Hertfordshire safeguarding board Phil Picton said: “Alexa-Marie was a very vulnerable little girl who was placed into the care of a man who actively sought to win custody of her and then within weeks went on to murder her.”

The report criticised all the parties involved for failing to consider the psychiatric report into Wheatley.

It said there were weaknesses in management within and between the different local authorities involved, and also “assumptions” about the rights of the birth family.

Supermarket worker Wheatley, who has ADHD and autism, was jailed for life in May last year.

Kevin Crompton, director of Children’s and Adults’ Services at the council, said: “Bedford Borough Council expresses its sympathy to all those who knew Alexa-Marie and we remain disturbed by her untimely death at the hands of her father. The Serious Case Review highlights a number of areas of concern regarding themanagement of the case by various agencies including our social care team.

“We have set out our response in an action plan, much of which has already been delivered. Whilst we acknowledge the shortcomings in practice and the report’s recommendations, we remain saddened by the fact that her murder was at the hands of someone the courts, and professionals, judged was a suitable parent and should have been protecting her from harm.”