HeadLine: TRAGIC TOT DROWNS IN CARE OF FOSTER MUM, 71
The Mirror, 11/10/2001, p18
by SHAUN MILNE
A TRAGIC tot drowned as his 71-year-old foster mum searched frantically
for him just yards away.
Little 18-month-old Jamie Harper, who had been taken from his mother
amid fears she may harm him, slipped unnoticed out of the fenced-off
garden where he was playing and tumbled face down into a swollen burn.
Foster mum Nancy McLoughlin believed he was safe in her garden in
But the tragic tot is thought to have wandered off after a caller
forgot to secure the latch on the garden gate.
Robert Nayes, 84, Mrs McLoughlin’s brother-in-law, said: “Nancy was
cooking things for a wee party for Jamie.
“He’s usually playing in the house and there’s a gate across the back
door to stop him getting out.
“We don’t know if he was in the garden, saw the gate ajar and just
wandered off to the park.”
Last night, Jamie’s distraught parents Victoria, 31, and George, 28, of
New Stevenston, Lanarkshire, were being comforted by friends and
Jamie was taken from them days after his birth when Victoria was deemed
unfit to look after him.
It is understood she suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a
mental illness that can result in a mum harming her child.
The couple had split up and Jamie was living with the registered
foster-mum until custody was settled.
Red-eyed Mr Harper said: “We are too upset to talk. We don’t want to
The family’s lawyer Niall Mickel said: “We are very concerned about the
circumstances in which he died, given that he was in the care of the
“It is too early to determine whether the family will be pressing for a
fatal accident inquiry but they want answers.”
Jamie was to be Mrs McLoughlin’s last foster child as she planned to
retire in February after a 20-year career.
Mrs McLoughlin collapsed as neighbours told her of Jamie’s death.
John McIntyre, 73, said: “Mrs McLoughlin never let Jamie out of her
sight. This is an utter tragedy.”
Mary Fagan, of North Lanarkshire Council social work service, said:
“The incident is the subject of a police inquiry.”
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