exposing the dark side of adoption
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No danger signs: boss of twins' adoption: Social Worker breaks silence


The social work director most closely involved in the adoption of the  Briggs  twins, from Romania, has broken his silence for the first time.

Louis Boyle, who was director of child and family care with the Craigavon and Banbridge HSS Trust when the harrowing case unfolded, has insisted the trust acted professionally and within the guidelines at the time. Free Presbyterian missionaries Geoffrey and Gwen Briggs, from Portadown,  adopted twins David and Samuel from a Romanian orphanage in the summer of 2000. David was dead when he was brought to Craigavon Area Hospital on October  23 that year, and a fortnight later Samuel was admitted with a fractured skull.

As a result of Samuel's injuries, David's body was exhumed and it was  found he had suffered 22 fractures - all missed in the original post-mortem examination.  Geoffrey Briggs was subsequently jailed for two years for causing Samuel's injuries. The Lewis Report panned the trust for its handling of the case, using  terms  like "lack of communications, poor understanding, lack of knowledge of  inter-country adoptions and failure to monitor".

Now, Mr Boyle - who retired last summer - says he wishes to put the record straight concerning the role of the Craigavon and Banbridge HSS Trust.  He said: "I feel the trust was unfairly criticised. We acted  professionally within the codes of the time.  "Hindsight is a wonderful thing and the procedures have been changed and  tightened following the Briggs case. Lessons have been learned. "But it has to be said that Geoffrey and Gwen Briggs seemed ideal  prospective adoptive parents for the twins - they appeared well-motivated,

and the trust followed all the procedures of the time."

In a statement he said that when the Briggs had applied to adopt, a home  study was completed which showed nothing to indicate the couple would have  been a risk to children. He insisted that professionals visited the couple on various occasions and perceived no concern in relation to the children or the Briggs, who did  not request additional help. The statement went on: "All indications were that they were coping well,  and I am totally satisfied that if any concerns had been brought to our notice, these would have been acted upon."

Geoffrey and Gwen Briggs have since moved to Scotland. The DPP has not decided whether there will be any charges over the death of David.

2005 Jan 15