'You've let him kill Dylan': Grandmother tried to warn authorities that Northampton drug dealer was dangerous before he killed his son
In June, a serious case review into the death of two-year-old Dylan Tiffin-Brown was published. The findings were damning. Now, the grandmother of Dylan’s half-sister is asking why her warnings were repeatedly ignored by the authorities.
In 2017, Dylan was killed at the hands of his drug-dealing father Raphael Kennedy. The boy’s body was found to have multiple bruises and injuries and contained high levels of drugs.
For Charlotte (Not her real name), the grandmother of Dylan’s half-sister, his death is all the more painful because she believes it could have been prevented.
Kennedy, entered into a relationship with Charlotte’s daughter when she was a teenager. He was repeatedly violent towards her.
The on-off relationship between the two resulted in the birth of a girl who now lives with Charlotte.
“Contact with her father was always an issue for me,” Charlotte says. “I never wanted her to have unsupervised contact with him.”
It was during contact sessions that Kennedy started to mention his son by another woman, Dylan. He had just started seeing the little boy after discovering he was his father.
As soon as Charlotte heard he was caring for the child unsupervised, she raised it with her social worker. They told her they would pass on the information.
Shortly after, the police raided Kennedy’s flat and Dylan was found in the presence of drugs and was believed to have been left alone for long periods. The police referred the case to Northamptonshire’s children’s services but the county council decided the threshold had not been met to show the boy was “suffering or likely to suffer harm”. A plan was made to assess the family but no urgent action was taken to prevent Kennedy seeing his son. It was later revealed that no observations of Dylan’s welfare had been recorded for two months.
“I thought that when the police caught him that would be it,” Charlotte says. “But he was soon back with him.”
In the days and weeks that followed, she continued to raise her concerns with social services. She says it was even well known locally that Kennedy was violent and involved with drugs.
In a text message, seen by this newspaper, which was sent to Charlotte just days after the police incident, the family’s then social worker said: “Dylan now has an allocated social worker who has been asked to look into what you said yesterday.”
Still, nothing happened.
“I was telling them he wasn’t safe,” Charlotte said. “But they weren’t doing anything, I don’t know why they wouldn’t listen.”
In December 2017, just ten weeks after Kennedy began seeing Dylan, Charlotte received a phone call from a friend telling her the boy had been killed.
“I was in the car outside Tesco when I heard,” she says. “I was in a real state. Then, a few minutes later my granddaughter’s social worker called and said contact with her father wouldn’t be happening the next day. I said: ‘I know it won’t, I know what’s happened, you’ve let him [Kennedy] kill Dylan’.”
“They came out to me within days of Dylan dying but when I was begging them to go out and check on him, nobody bothered. They can act quickly when they want to.”
The serious case review into Dylan’s death in June found the authority had failed to recognise Kennedy’s chronic history of domestic abuse drug-related offences.
Director of children’s services Sally Hodges, said at the time of the review: “The profession is full of dedicated people who have given their career over to improving the life chances of children. Unfortunately, at the time of this tragedy this was not the case and for that as an organisation we are truly sorry.”
This story originally appeared in the Byline Times following the serious case review.