Protest outside Pembrokeshire County Hall over death of 14 year-old girl
Updated 1:11pm Friday 14th March 2014 in News
AROUND 30 people gathered outside County Hall in Haverfordwest this morning calling for 'truth and transparency' about the death of a 14 year-old girl.
Seren Bernard was found dead in April 2012 while under the care of Pembrokeshire County Council.
Her mother Sarah Pollock organised the protest, which was attended by friends and family, and other people who experienced what they believe to be discrepancies with the child care system.
Sarah has previously strongly criticised a report into Seren's death which was released in January. The review made several recommendations for improvement but concluded that it would remain uncertain as to whether there were any steps that, if taken, would have prevented Seren's death.
An inquest into Seren's death is yet to be held.
Speaking at the protest, Sarah said: “It is my biggest fear that they will try and push my daughter’s inquest through as a simple inquest. I need a lot more explanation than that. I need answers.
“It’s vital we get this sorted, and that this doesn’t happen to any more children.
“I think the procedures and the way these people work really needs to be assessed. It is placing children and families in danger.
“My daughter wasn’t a statistic, she wasn’t a number, she wasn’t a wage for foster carers. My daughter was a living, breathing human being with rights. That’s what I’m standing up for today.
“What’s disturbing is the reluctancy of the agencies involved to give me explanations. It raises suspicions and more questions.
“I would like to see the whole child care system in Pembrokeshire turned over."
Referring to recent events at County Hall, Sarah added: “I also question how can Bryn Parry-Jones and the council get £26,000 for legal representation and a QC to defend disgraceful and potentially unlawful goings-on?"
Kristina Wray, the mother of Derek Brundrett who died at Pembroke School, was at the protest to support Sarah.
She said: “Obviously she’s got questions she wants answered. No one seems to be giving her any answers.
"Unfortunately like Sarah, l lost my son Derek, and I do not want to be standing here in two years time asking pretty much the same questions. Just give us answers to what we’re asking. Simple as that.”
A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesman said: “We appreciate the deep emotion of Mrs Pollock as a bereaved parent.
“The independent reports that have been completed by external experts into the tragic loss of her daughter have concluded that it would remain uncertain as to whether there were any steps that, if taken, could have prevented her death.
“At present the matter is still before HM Coroner and it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
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