The father of a 7-year-old boy who was murdered by his mother has told an inquest that he alleged with social services and police to protect his son but was frequently brushed off.
Matthew Spriggs, whose son Archie Spriggs was strangled by his ex-partner Lesley Speed on the day of a family court custody trial in September 2017, told Shropshire coroner’s court he could not grasp her actions.
In a statement read to the court, Spriggs said he built serious concerns about Archie as early as 2013 but was not considered seriously.
He claimed that in the months before his son went, he telephoned social services and asked: “What is it going to take for you to investigate? Bruises? Broken bones? Or my son to be killed by her?” The alleged response was: “It won’t come to that.”
The inquest, which started on Monday and is expected to continue for two weeks, heard that Speed, who was looking after Archie at her house in Rushbury, near Church Stretton, Shropshire, is serving a life sentence after being pronounced guilty of murder.
Spriggs, from Shrewsbury, said he reported to social services in 2013 that he had discovered bruises on Archie’s upper body and the boy had told him he had been tied upside down and shaken by his mom. Spriggs said he told social services he had photographic proof but nobody went to view the pictures.
He said he told social services in 2014 that bruises had resembled on Archie’s body in unusual places such as the inside or underside of his limbs. The boy told him that his mum had hit him but Spriggs said he saw no proof that social services began any investigation.
Spriggs insisted Archie told him in May 2017 that he had been abused and ignored. Again, Spriggs said he went to social services but was reported that no investigation would take place as no threat to his son had been seen. When he asked what the previous examinations had consisted of, he was purportedly told it was one phone call to the boy’s headteacher.
“I pleaded with them to protect my boy,” he said. “I even urged them to put him in care so he would be safe.”
Spriggs said he also talked to the police and Archie’s school. “I just wanted Archie to be protected,” he said. “I do not think my concerns were taken seriously.”
He continued: “I did everything so that Archie and I could have communication with each other. Throughout my son’s life, everything I did was for him. I love my son and desired him safe. I contacted many organizations and I do not think that any of the organizations took my interests seriously.”
A serious case review said agencies missed opportunities to negotiate in the situation. The trial was told that part of Spriggs’ statement to the court was opposed by the local authority and West Mercia Police. The inquest resumes.