Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

#TRAGEDY: Mother killed four-year-old son to get back at estranged partner

The British Indian father of a four-year-old boy who was killed in a house fire along with his mother has slammed Social Services for not acting quickly enough to save his son.

Paresh Patel, 43, says the boy's mother Janma Joshi started the fire deliberately because she had lost full custody of the child. 

Mr Patel claims that Janma failed to return his son Jai to him after the Easter school holidays but authorities in Liverpool failed to take action for more than a month in spite of desperate pleas from him.

Jai had remained in his mother's care for four weeks and out of school for two-and-a-half weeks prior to his death, Mr Patel told an inquest into his son's death. 

Mr Patel won a custody battle to look after his son more than two years ago and believes this may have been why his ex-partner deliberately started the fire at a flat in Toxteth, Liverpool earlier this month: police officers were "satisfied" that Ms Joshi had been responsible for the fire, the inquest heard.

Mr Patel, a newsagent, said: "Failings by authorities have yet again contributed to the death of another innocent child.

"Jai’s death was entirely avoidable and I feel that the agencies and institutions designed to protect my son have failed him.
"There were several opportunities by the police, courts and social services to safely get Jai back to me.

"As a father, you never expect your child to die before you.

"However, my son Jai died at the hands of his so-called mother and she knew exactly what she was doing.

"There is only one way to describe this - evil."

Mr Patel added that authorities failed to remove Jai from his mother's care despite repeated requests from him as well as the police protection unit and social workers.

He said: "Ironically, if a parent takes a child out of school they are fined.

"Yet Jai was out of school for two-and-a-half weeks and social services did nothing."

Mr Patel, who is now married to Deviyani, with whom he has a three-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, had a relationship with Joshi after meeting her on an Indian matrimonial website.

By the time she discovered she was pregnant, their relationship was already over but Mr Patel said he had taken an active role in raising their son.

For the first two years of his life, Jai lived with his mother, and his father had regular time with his son.

But when Jai was about two-and-a-half, court proceedings took place and Mr Patel gained full custody after social workers raised concerns about Jai's emotional well being.

Ms Joshi initially gained supervised access to her son and later overnight visits every other weekend.

The inquest heard that Ms Joshi failed to return Jai to his father after the Easter break offering a "variety of excuses" and also failed to take him to school. 

"Alarm bells started ringing then and we knew she was trying to keep hold of him", Mr Patel said.

"I notified the relevant authorities including police and social services and contacted them numerous times."

Ms Joshi is said to have then made another attempt to gain resident custody of the child but a hearing was delayed. 

When the case eventually came up in court, the judge ordered Jai’s mother to take him to school and allow Mr Patel to pick him up until a resolution was found.

However, the next day Jai did not turn up at school again.

Mr Patel said: "I sent the social worker a message saying they needed to get Jai out of that home and I notified the authorities.

"Then two police family liaison officers came to my home and told me that a woman and a child had been killed in a flat fire in Liverpool and they believed the child to be Jai.

"As soon as they told me, I knew she had done it deliberately.

"I think in her mind, she felt that if she couldn’t have Jai, no one else could have him either.

"She knew the way to hurt me was through Jai. She knew how important he was to me.

"Ultimately, Jai paid the price."

He has now called for independent reviews into the authorities to find out why they did not enforce the court order after Jai’s mother failed to give him back or take him to school.

The matter will be passed to the Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board for consideration by their serious case review panel.



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