A VULNERABLE boy who ended up half-blind due to neglect scrawled “help me” on the wall outside his bedroom in a desperate cry for help from social services.

A Serious Case Review is under way into the case after the youngster lost the sight in one eye after missing hospital appointments and being kept in a filthy, fly-infested house in Thornaby, near Stockon.

Last night the boy’s MP said he was failed by the authorities after The Northern Echo showed him a report into the boy’s care.

Stockton Borough Council said it, and other agencies, were taking part in a thorough case review that had been initiated earlier this year, and that the boy, and his younger sister were now doing well.

A social worker’s report seen by The Northern Echo says the child, now 12, was subject to neglect dating from 2007.

It said social workers had several chances to intervene after concerns raised by doctors and a school nurse, but that the boy’s case was closed twice.

The boy even scrawled “help me” on a wall outside his dirty bedroom in a desperate cry for help.

It was a social worker who noticed his blindness for the first time.

In an unusual move, a judge agreed to lift a legal order banning identification of the boy’s mother, Gillian Hendry and her partner, Craig Dick, before they were sentenced last month.

Judge Howard Crowson agreed that reporting the case in full was in the public interest and could prevent a repeat. He said it was important the boy was not seen to be at fault for anything that happened to him.

The couple, who are both 34, and lived in Teesdale Terrace, Thornaby, both admitted cruelty. Hendry was jailed for two-and-a-half years and Dick got two years and two months.

Photographs showing the appalling state of the family home, where they also had a two-year-old daughter, made national headlines.

It emerged in court that the child had an arthritic condition. Concerned doctors called in social services when they failed to take him to appointments. If he had attended hospital his sight may have been saved.

Following the couple’s conviction a multi-agency serious case review, is being undertaken to investigate what went wrong.

The report which covered a period when the boy lived with his mother before she met Craig Dick, shows:

* The boy’s Middlesbrough primary school first alerted social services there were serious problems with attendance and hygiene in 2007, when he was six and still wearing ‘pull ups’. However it was decided not to intervene further.

* A hospital consultant, Dr Fiona Clarke, raised the alarm in 2009 telling social services he was not attending hospital appointments and he could be left severely disabled. But there was no house visit despite the child being unclean.

* In January 2010 and February 2010, a school nurse raised the alarm with social services after personally visiting the family who found the home to be in poor condition, with a mice infestation and no heating or hot water. This time a Middlesbrough social worker did visit the family home but found conditions had improved and closed the case.

* In September 2011, after the boy had moved to Thornaby and was now living with Craig Dick, the consultant doctor again called social services. This time she called following an appointment because he was dirty to the point of being at risk of infection. But social workers did not undertake any assessment because the child’s school said it had no hygiene concerns.

* In August, 2012, the consultant again contacted Stockton social services after he failed to attend appointments. This time social services called to the house, but not until April, 2013, eight months later. A social worker declared the house “an acceptable standard” but did not see the children’s bedrooms and closed the case.

* Yet another concern from a doctor, this time a GP, was raised in July, 2013. After several attempts social workers eventually succeed in gaining entry to the home on August, 21, 2013. A social worker noticed the boy had gone blind in one eye, a process that had been happening for at least six months, and the children were removed from the family home.

The report says of the moment a social worker asked the boy about his eye: “(The boy) reported that he was blind in his left eye. He said he remembered his eye being sticky then cloudy before going black. Miss Hendry appeared to be oblivious to his eye and claimed to be unaware that (the boy) was unable to see.”

Social workers and a called in police officer found faeces and urine in both the children’s bedrooms. The boy was questioned more. “He (the child) told the social worker that when he used to wake up at his home, he had to tend to his little sister.”

On a later visit, made after the children were removed from the home, a social worker noticed the words ‘help me’ written on the wall just outside the boy’s bedroom.

His mother said he wrote it on the day the social worker first visited.

Alex Cunningham, Stockton North MP, said: “This has been a tragic situation for this young boy and it is clear that there needs to be a full and detailed enquiry into why he was let down. There have clearly been failings and it is important we learn about them and the actions taken as a result of them but we need to await the outcome of the Review.”

A spokesman for Stockton Borough Council said the authority and other agencies were participating in an independent Serious Case Review, initiated by the Stockton Local Safeguarding Children Board and said both the boy and his sister are doing well.

A spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said that Middlesbrough social workers had not been involved since 2010 and had ensured improvements had been made in his home conditions as well as his appearance and school attendance and “the case was therefore closed”.

The Independent Chair of the Stockton Local Safeguarding Children Board, Colin Morris, said: “We are aware of this very sad case and a Serious Case Review is already well under way having been initiated in June.”