NOT once, but twice, she asked for her children to be taken away from her because she was unable to cope.
On one occasion she even packed the bags of Jayden, two, and Bradley, four, and announced she was sending them into care.
But for reasons unknown, Southampton’s social services department did not act – in fact they even talked Shelly Adams, 27, into changing her mind.
Today the Daily Echo has been hit by a wall of silence after asking Southampton City Council to explain its decisions.
They have refused to make any comment about why they did not immediately remove the brothers – one of whom was at that time placed on the “at risk register” over fears for his safety in his mother’s care – saying they were matters for an independent review that has only just begun.
The shocking details of an unfit mother’s cry for help were revealed as a disturbing picture was painted into the tragic lives of two little boys who were subjected to “chronic neglect” in their short lives during an inquest yesterday.
The hearing was told how she dished out “corporal punishment”
to an inappropriate and excessive extent and would shout at Bradley when he was a baby just to get him to be quiet.
Home conditions were poor, Ms Adams failed to protect her sons and they didn’t even get given “appropriate” food.
She had difficulties managing their behaviour, she handed out “harsh and excessive” punishment and would smack her children for simply being lively and inquisitive toddlers.
The inquest was told how evidence given to the High Court in care proceedings last year showed that despite considerable support from social services, she was guilty of “serious and chronic neglect” of her children.
Coroner Keith Wiseman, reading from a 40-page judgement from the care hearing, said Ms Adams was “simply unable to cope with the demands of caring for her children”.
Instead she put her own needs before those of her sons and ignored their physical and emotional needs adding: “They had to fit around her, she was entirely neglectful”.
The inquest heard how on one occasion Ms Adams announced she was “putting them into care” and packed their bags, but was talked out of it by social workers.
On another occasion on December 9, 2010 – just a month before Jayden died – she had asked social services to take the boys away but nothing happened.
The court heard evidence from Detective Inspector Dave Dilly, from the major crime department who led the investigation into the deaths of Bradley and Jayden, who described Ms Adams as leading “a very chaotic life”.
He described her as having issues surrounding providing for and caring for her children and keeping them safe.
Southampton City Council’s social services department had been involved with her since the birth of both boys, but also throughout much of Ms Adams life too. She has learning difficulties and it was not clear to what extent they played a part.
At one point Ms Adams’ mother Debbie even made an application to get residency for her grandchildren but for reasons that were not explained during the inquest, that was never continued.
Det Insp Dilly said: “Shelly Adams was unable to cope with bringing up children and consideration was being given to remove Jayden.”
He added that Ms Adams’ request for her children to be taken because she could not cope “did not happen”.
Following her arrest on suspicion of murdering Bradley, Ms Adams was questioned over two days but refused to answer any questions.
Instead she denied any wrong doing through a statement provided by her solicitor. She was later arrested on suspicion of murdering Jayden but eventually, after dialogue with the CPS, the decision was taken not to prosecute.
In reaching its decision, it said that there was “a clear picture of an individual incapable of looking after children” but the evidence lacked “a real intent to cause harm”
and the “compelling piece of evidence” to provide a realistic hope of prosecution in the courts.
Hampshire police appealed that decision and a full review of all the evidence, including the CPS decision, was examined by a senior member of the Queen’s Counsel who sided with the CPS.
- 'Strong possibility' mother killed her two children
- Boys suffered chronic neglect at hands of mother
- What the High Court heard about Shelly Adams and her children
- Second inquest that raises questions about vulnerable children
- What pathologosts found after boys' deaths
- Police and CPS to re-examine cases
- Boys died after mum asked for them to be taken into care
- Voice of the Echo: Big questions raised by deaths of young children