Police investigate reports of disabled students' 'unexplained' injuries at college

Injuries allegedly sustained at New City College, Hornchurch

Police are investigating after two mothers complained that their daughters came home from New City College, Hornchurch, with injuries - Credit: Google Streetview / Shelica Daniels / Shazia Butt

Two mothers have pulled their children out of a Havering college and filed police reports after their daughters allegedly came home with similar "unexplained" injuries. 

Metropolitan Police officers are now making enquiries and Havering Council said it was awaiting answers from New City College in Hornchurch, which said the allegations have been taken very seriously. 

A spokesperson from the college said: “We believe our high standards of safeguarding and support have been maintained and appropriate protocols followed.” 

Complaints have also been filed with the Department for Education (DfE). 

The two complainants who spoke to the Recorder both have adult daughters with special educational needs. 

Each claimed they were concerned nobody at the college has explained how their daughters had sustained their injuries.

They said their daughters' special needs meant they should be looked after closely by specialist staff. 

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Yasra 

Shazia Butt’s 23-year-old daughter Yasra Mir has complex disabilities and is non-verbal. Her conditions include autism, epilepsy and ADHD.

She has attended the college for around four years. 

On May 5, Shazia said the college called her to report Yasra looked disturbed and had a swollen hand. 

Shazia said it turned out Yasra’s hand was not only swollen but bruised too, and she couldn’t move her fingers. She also had an injury to her backside. 

When she took Yasra to A&E, Shazia discovered her daughter’s finger was fractured. 

Yasra Mir's injured hand

Shazia Butt showed the Recorder an x-ray which she said showed Yasra's fracture, and a photograph of her bandaged hand after the incident - Credit: Shazia Butt

She has now removed her daughter from the college.

“Despite repeated requests for a month, I was not able to obtain a satisfactory explanation of the events which led to Yasra breaking her finger,” Shazia told the Recorder. 

She added: "I would request a transparent investigation into the manner the special needs department is run and the way vulnerable adults are looked after.” 

Keanna 

Shelica Daniels’ daughter Keanna Dias, 20, has cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair and is also non-verbal, unable to move or write. 

Keanna Dias

Shelica Daniels said her daughter Keanna Dias (pictured) had sustained injuries at college three times. This image shows her with her fingers bandaged - Credit: Shelica Daniels

Shelica told the Recorder her daughter had sustained injuries at the college three times – two of which involved injuries to her finger, similar to Yasra’s. 

On the third occasion Keanna’s leg was injured, leaving it swollen, she said. 

The most recent injury, on March 27, saw Keanna arrive home with her little finger bent. It has remained bent ever since, Shelica claimed. 

In an email exchange with the college, seen by the Recorder, Shelica wrote: “I don’t understand why these things keep happening at college and no one knows anything and no one can explain what’s happened.” 

She too has now removed her daughter from the provision. 

“My daughter cannot speak and I am worried for the children," Shelica said.  

Keanna Dias's injured little finger

Shelica said Keanna arrived home from college in March with her little finger bent, and that it had remained bent ever since - Credit: Shelica Daniels

Investigation 

The Met said: “Police were contacted on Monday, May 3, and Wednesday, May 18, following concerns for the welfare of two students at a school in Havering. 

“There have been no arrests. Police are in contact with the local authority and enquiries are ongoing.” 

Havering Council confirmed that it was made aware of the complaints in May and referred them to its safeguarding team. 

However, it has since decided to let the college investigate itself and then inform the council of its conclusions. 

In a statement issued by the local authority's press office, leader Cllr Ray Morgon said: “Our safeguarding team has reviewed this matter with the college. 

“We are satisfied that the college are fully aware of the concerns raised and are investigating them and they will provide us with an update once the complaints have been addressed.” 

The DfE refused to comment on the complaints it had received, citing the “ongoing police investigation”. 

New City College, Hornchurch

New City College, in Wingletye Lane, Hornchurch, said it believed all the proper protocols had been followed in handling the two women's complaints - Credit: Google Streetview

The College 

New City College issued the following statement, attributed to a spokesperson. 

“We have taken these allegations very seriously and each of the complainants has been supported through the complaints procedure. 

“We believe our high standards of safeguarding and support have been maintained and appropriate protocols followed.”