Logan Mwangi’s biological father says he could have saved tragic five-year-old if he had known


The biological father of murdered five-year-old Logan Mwangi says he was told by his former partner he would never see his boy again before his tragic death.

Ben Mwangi said Logan’s mother Angharad Williamson cut off contact with him after beginning a relationship with murder accomplice John Cole.

In July last year, Logan’s body was found ‘fly-tipped like rubbish’ in the River Ogmore, near his home in Sarn, Bridgend county. He had suffered 56 external cuts and bruises and ‘catastrophic’ internal injuries. 

Williamson, 31, and Cole, 40, and his step-son, 14-year-old Craig Mulligan were all given life sentences last week after being found guilty of Logan’s murder.

Today Mr Mwangi revealed how he had initially kept in contact with Logan and had  moved to South Wales shortly before his birth in March 2016 to help co-parent.

But speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he said: ‘As soon as Cole stepped on to the scene (in 2019) everything completely changed.

‘He said that I was talking to her too much. But obviously we’d only talk about Logan. And after that everything just fell apart.

‘She sent me a nasty message saying Logan has a family now, he doesn’t need me and I’m never going to see my son again.’

Mr Mwangi continued to have occasional telephone contact with Logan during visits with his grandmother, Williamson’s mother, at weekends. However, that soon ended when Williamson stopped Logan visiting her mother.

‘Because I hadn’t seen Logan in so long, I had absolutely no knowledge, or no idea, about what was going on. I had absolutely no knowledge whatsoever about what was happening to Logan,’ Mr Mwangi said.

During the trial, it emerged that Logan had been on the child protection register due to concerns about Cole. But had been removed from it a month before he died.

Social workers also attempted an unscheduled visit to the house a day before Logan died, but were denied access due to the youngster supposedly having Covid. Now Mr Mwangi is campaigning for a law change.

He wants estranged parents to be given notice if social services flag safety concerns about their child.

Today he said: ‘100 per cent I would have been the first one there (had I known). 

Ben Mwangi said he had ‘no idea’ that social services were involved with his son prior to his murder in July last year

Logan Mwangi's (pictured) body was found 'fly-tipped like rubbish' in the River Ogmore, near his home in Sarn, Bridgend county

Logan Mwangi’s (pictured) body was found ‘fly-tipped like rubbish’ in the River Ogmore, near his home in Sarn, Bridgend county

‘They (social services) would have looked at his injuries and though that he wouldn’t have self-inflicted them, there are three people in the house so this is obviously a dangerous environment, we need to contact his father and let him know what happened.

‘But I had absolutely no idea what was happening to my son.’

Speaking about his campaign, named Logan’s Law in honour of his son, he said: ‘This is exactly what Logan’s Law is doing. 

‘What it is going to be about is to let estranged parents like myself know if their child is known to social services.

‘If I would have had any inkling whatsoever that Logan was known I would have got him. 

‘I would have gone with a police escort or worked with social services and I would have said: ‘Okay I’m getting my son’s things and I’m taking him away from this obviously hostile environment. If he is in danger then let’s make him safe.’

How social workers had ‘no concerns’ over adoptive father who went on to kill 18-year-old girl 

The last major social services failure in Wales was just six years ago – when adoptive father Matthew Scully-Hicks killed his 18 month old daughter Elsie under the eye of social workers.

A child safeguarding review at the time found Scully-Hicks, and his husband Craig, were seen as ‘positive parents’ and the catalogue of abuse suffered at the hands of the personal trainer were written off by medics and social workers as accidents. 

Scully-Hicks, from Cardiff, subjected Elsie to months of horrific assaults before killing her in an attack so severe her tiny body looked like it had been in a ‘car crash’.

The family was visited 15 times by at least three social workers and he made numerous visits to the GP and A&E when he injured Elsie – but there was ‘no concern’ about his parenting. 

‘But for the fact that I didn’t know – which is one of the big questions that is going to be asked in the child protection review – is going to be why wasn’t I contacted.

‘You would have thought as his biological father if he was on the (social services) register then I should have known.’

It comes as calls are growing for inquiries into children’s services to take place across the whole UK after social workers and family courts failed to prevent the murder of Logan. 

A social services investigation is now under way into the circumstances of Logan’s death as Mulligan had only returned to the care of Cole just five days before the murder in July last year.

In England, a national review into the murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, six, and one-year-old Star Hobson has begun, and calls have been made for a similar inquiry in Wales.

Star’s great grandfather David Fawcett, 62, today said an overhaul was needed to social services across the entire UK. 

‘The whole system needs overhauling before more children die,’ he told MailOnline. ‘There is inquiry after inquiry and the failures are recognised, but still repeated again and again all over the country.

‘When you see how much some of these people are being paid and they are not protecting the children, it is shocking.

‘They say changes will be made in a year, but what is happening now? The police need to work closer with social services. There needs to be more communication and checks.’

A serious case review into Logan’s death has now been launched by the local council, but Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has been slammed for rejecting demands for Wales to follow England and Scotland and set up an inquiry to examine the crisis in social care on a national level.  

Welsh Conservative Gareth Davies said he was ‘surprised’ First Minister Mark Drakeford had rejected the plea as Logan’s death had ‘exposed some serious shortcomings’.

Plaid Cymru’s Heledd Fychan said Wales was now the ‘outlier’ as it was the only nation in the UK not undertaking a review.

And Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds said lessons must be learned ‘so that it never happens again’.

The Welsh Government said it would ‘closely consider’ the results of a children’s services inspection and a review of events before Logan’s death.

The last major social services failure in Wales was just six years ago – when adoptive father Matthew Scully-Hicks killed his 18 month old daughter Elsie under the eye of social workers.

A child safeguarding review at the time found Scully-Hicks, and his husband Craig, were seen as ‘positive parents’ and the catalogue of abuse suffered at the hands of the personal trainer were written off by medics and social workers as accidents. 

Craig Mulligan

Logan Mwangi

Craig Mulligan (left), who has been convicted of the murder of Logan Mwangi (right). The youth’s identity can be revealed after the judge in the case lifted an anonymity order

Logan's killer stepfather, John Cole, 40, will have to serve a minimum term of 29 years

Logan's mother Angharad Williamson, 31, will have to serve a minimum term of 28 years

John Cole, 40, Angharad Williamson, 31, will have to serve minimum terms of 29 years and 28 years consecutively

Scandalously, Logan had been stepped down on the child protection register just weeks before his death by social workers from Bridgend Council in South Wales. 

The same children’s services department also supported moving Mulligan out of foster care and into the family home – despite having made threats to kill Logan.

That fact was only reportable after a judge ruled it was of ‘significant public interest’ to name Mulligan so the family dynamics could be explained.

But at every step in proceedings Bridgend Council has tried to hide their missed opportunities to save Logan, with social workers requesting to be anonymised during court proceedings. 

Prosecutor Caroline Rees QC told the court: ‘Several social workers have raised requests for anonymity orders. It seems they have been wrongly informed they are entitled to them.’

The council kept a close eye on proceedings throughout the nine-week trial, often having two press officers and two solicitors in court, as well as other officials from Children’s Services.

Later, after the guilty verdicts were returned, lawyers for the council briefed Mulligan’s defence team that they wished to keep the teenage killer anonymous because naming him ‘could affect his rehabilitation’.  

The tragedy follows the recent deaths of two other youngsters who suffered similarly horrific neglect.

MPs at Westminster have this week been probing the lockdown murders of 16-month-old Star Hobson and Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, six, with council bosses admitting no social workers had been sacked over the tragedies.

Both were killed by their parents’ partners during the pandemic after social workers missed signs they were being abused.    

Mulligan’s move into Logan’s home – likened during the murder trial to ‘putting a lit match in a powder keg’ – was approved by the secretive family courts after Cole applied for guardianship of Mulligan. 

Logan (left) and Mulligan (right) dance in a video posted to Instagram on December 11. Logan was found dead on July 31 last year

Logan (left) and Mulligan (right) dance in a video posted to Instagram on December 11. Logan was found dead on July 31 last year

The children failed by the system: How social services missed multiple opportunities to save horrifically abused children

Star Hobson, murdered September 22, 2020

 

Star Hobson  was only 16 months old when she was killed at her home in Keighley, West Yorkshire. 

Star was murdered by her mother Frankie Smith’s girlfriend Savannah Brockhill after suffering months of abuse in her home during the Covid lockdown last year. Frankie Smith 20, was handed an eight-year sentence for allowing her daughter’s death. This was extended to 12 years in March for being too lenient. 

Brockhill, 28, was convicted of murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years. No appeal was made against her sentence. It was revealed that social services had missed five opportunities to stop her killers in the months before her death on September 22, 2020. 

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, murdered June 16, 2020 

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, aged six, was murdered by his cruel stepmother Emma Tustin in June. She was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 29 years and the boy’s father Thomas Hughes was jailed for 21 years for manslaughter. 

The boy had been seen by social workers just two months before his death, but they concluded there were no safeguarding concerns. In October 2019, Aileen Carabine, a special educational coordinator at Arthur’s school, said Arthur ‘deteriorated’ that month. 

Despite not being a blood relative, Mulligan idolised Cole and referred to him as ‘dad’. 

In chilling contrast, he would not refer to Logan as his brother, calling him only ‘the five-year-old’. 

Social work insiders told the Mail of their incredulity that Mulligan was allowed to live with Logan, who only weeks earlier had been taken off the child protection register.

Logan’s mother, stepfather and Mulligan – who was described as ‘pure evil’ by a foster carer – were convicted of his murder.

And yesterday life sentences were imposed on Cole – said by the judge to have carried out the attack – as well as Mulligan, who she said joined in, and Williamson, who helped them stage a ‘callous’ cover-up. 

Cole was sentenced to at least 29 years behind bars and Williamson 28 years. Mulligan was detained for a minimum of 15 years.

Amid horror over the previously hidden truth about how Mulligan’s presence was approved by those meant to protect Logan, calls were last night made for Wales to follow England’s example and instigate a nationwide inquiry into child protection failures.

Last night, disturbing footage of Mulligan’s arrest laid bare his arrogant response to Logan’s death, showing him chewing gum and apparently showing no emotion.

The baby-faced 13-year-old calmly lied to officers that when he and Cole were caught on CCTV carrying a black bag at 2.45am on July 31, it contained ‘rubbish’ from the back garden which they ‘chucked’ in the river. 

In reality, the black bag contained Logan’s body. 

Following the sentence, Bridgend Council Chief Executive Mark Shephard said: ‘Now that the trial has concluded, Cwm Taf Morgannwg Regional Safeguarding Board is leading on the commissioning of a child practice review to enable relevant agencies to fully assess and consider their roles, and to determine whether any improvements can be made to further strengthen the overall standard of local services.

‘As Bridgend County Borough Council is fully participating in this process, we cannot offer further comment or pre-empt whatever the findings of this comprehensive and impartial review may be.

‘We are awaiting the review’s findings, and together with our partners we will implement any recommendations that it may contain to ensure that we can provide the best, most effective services possible for the local community.

‘Our thoughts remain with Logan, and all who knew or cared for him. His tragic death has affected us all, and a wide range of support services are available to access at this difficult time.’ 

Even his foster carers were terrified of him: Teenager Craig Mulligan’s involvement in the death of five-year-old Logan Mwangi should never have been allowed to happen, writes TOM RAWSTORNE

His name will go down in infamy alongside those of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, the two ten-year-olds jailed for killing James Bulger. It was a crime that saw them become the youngest children to be convicted of murder in modern British history.

At 13, Craig Mulligan was only slightly older when he joined in the attack that left poor Logan Mwangi dying in agony.

The youth’s identity can be revealed today after the judge in the case lifted an anonymity order. But what can also be revealed for the first time is that his involvement in the death of the defenceless five-year-old could – and should – never have been allowed to happen.

Mulligan’s behaviour had been raising red flags for years. Brought up in chaotic circumstances, he delighted in torturing animals and other children, his simmering aggression terrifying even adults. One foster carer described him as ‘pure evil’.

He first came into contact with Logan when his own ‘stepfather’ John ‘Jay’ Cole started dating the little boy’s mother, Angharad Williamson, in 2019. It wasn’t long before he was accused of pushing the child down the stairs, fracturing his arm.

The photo shows Angharad Williamson and her fiance Jay Cole, the mother and stepfather of Logan Mwangi, aged five, who was found dead in the Ogmore River near Pandy Park close to his home in Bridgend in South Wales on 31 July last year

The photo shows Angharad Williamson and her fiance Jay Cole, the mother and stepfather of Logan Mwangi, aged five, who was found dead in the Ogmore River near Pandy Park close to his home in Bridgend in South Wales on 31 July last year

Logan was tortured and left to die

Logan was tortured and left to die

Mulligan should not have been allowed within a million miles of Logan – a vulnerable child whose welfare social services were supposed to be monitoring. Instead, a decision was taken by the family court to formally place the disturbed teenager in the care of Cole and Williamson, meaning he would live with Logan in a two-bed flat.

One social worker involved in the case told the Daily Mail that she was dumbfounded by the decision to allow Mulligan to live with Logan. ‘Craig Mulligan should never have been allowed to live in the same household as Logan. Any social worker would say that. It’s common sense.

‘To have a teenager like that placed with a young boy who’d been on a child protection plan should be an absolute no-no.’

Yet Mulligan moved in on July 26, 2021. Five days later Logan’s body was found.

Meanwhile, it is hard to imagine a less suitable guardian for the pair than Cole. A vile racist with a long list of convictions for everything from violent assaults to witness intimidation, the 40-year-old claimed to have been in the SAS but was in fact nothing more than a controlling bully.

A post mortem discovered 56 external injuries to Logan’s body as well as a torn bowel and liver – the sort of damage normally seen in a car crash or fall from height.

How these injuries were inflicted on Logan no one fully knows. Instead of admitting what they had done, the three turned on one another, concocting conflicting stories in a bid to deflect the blame.

Cole was caught on CCTV carrying Logan's limp body from the flat across a playing field towards the river where he was found by police shortly after dawn on July 31

Cole was caught on CCTV carrying Logan’s limp body from the flat across a playing field towards the river where he was found by police shortly after dawn on July 31

But perhaps the most likely explanation came from Logan’s mother, Williamson, who told how Cole had punched Logan three or four times in the stomach and ‘sent him flying’ following a row.

She told police that Cole then encouraged the teenage Mulligan to join in the attack, adding that he ‘punched him to the floor and banged his head in the hallway after Jay did it’. She said: ‘Jay encouraged Craig to do it.’

Two days later Logan was dead, Mulligan accompanying Cole as he dumped the boy’s body into a nearby river like fly-tipped rubbish. The teenager has never shown the slightest remorse. The opposite in fact. Two weeks after Logan’s death, Mulligan was heard singing: ‘I love kids. I f****** love kids. I love to punch kids in the head. It’s orgasmic’.

For clues as to how Mulligan now finds himself facing life in prison, we must begin with his birth in Coventry in 2007 to a woman called Rebecca Trudgill.

His dad died when he was young, and Miss Trudgill soon started dating Cole. He formed a father-son relationship with the young boy, who worshipped him.

The couple moved to Bridgend, apparently to give Mulligan, who suffered from ADHD and autism, a better life. However, the relationship between Cole and Miss Trudgill broke down in 2017.

Mulligan was then placed with foster parents – but they were shocked by his behaviour and were left fearing for their safety.

He hid knives around the house and deliberately stamped on the feet of another girl living there who had come out of hospital after an operation on her toes.

On a trip to the cinema to watch In The Heights, the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical set in New York, he shouted out ‘Kill all the Jews!’ at the top of his voice.

He tortured pets and when he told his foster mother he wanted a baseball bat, she bought him one thinking he wanted to take up the sport. Instead, he used it to smash up the local park.

At home, Mulligan would refuse to wash, playing on his X-Box around the clock and urinating in an empty Coca-Cola bottle rather than going to the toilet.

Towards the end of his stay, the foster carer’s daughter said she heard Mulligan making threats to kill Logan – including on the week he was allowed to move into the five-year-old’s home.

But she did not raise the specific concerns about Logan because Mulligan was ‘always talking about killing people’ and was ‘obsessed with killing’.

The foster couple did raise their concerns separately with Debbie Williams, Mulligan’s social worker, but claim they were brushed off.

But Miss Williams told the court she was not told about Mulligan threatening the family.

During his stay with the foster family, he would talk about Cole non-stop. On one occasion he even turned down a caravan holiday to Cornwall with the family, saying: ‘It’s too far from Jay.’

Mulligan’s desire to live with Cole required approval by the family court, a process that began that summer despite deep concerns from Logan’s social worker, Gaynor Rush.

Following a review in June 2021, Logan’s status changed from being a child in protection to a child in need.

Such arrangements are for children who are not deemed at risk but have complex needs. This meant he no longer had an allocated social worker.

Miss Rush said when she heard Williamson and Cole were applying for parental responsibility for Mulligan, she never believed it would be allowed to happen.

She also said she had tried, without success, to contact Mulligan’s social worker, Miss Williams, on multiple occasions to get ‘a better picture of what was going on’.

She only found out the family had been granted parental rights for Mulligan on July 26, 2021, when Logan’s mother texted her.

What was said in the family court to persuade the judge that Mulligan should move into Logan’s home is not known.

But speaking to the Daily Mail, sources close to the case have expressed concerns about the process and whether Mulligan’s situation was efficiently assessed.

‘My big question is did the Cafcass [the organisation that represents children in family court cases in England] adviser undertake a child impact assessment before they were given parental responsibility over Craig?

‘Especially given the trauma he’d been through,’ the source said. ‘A parental assessment takes 12 weeks. You need to take observations of the child, focus on their behaviour at school, talk to their teachers, how the kids interact with one another. How could they have done those checks within a couple of weeks? It doesn’t add up. Logan was an articulate boy, they could have asked him about Craig coming home. He could have talked to the judge about how he felt if he’d been asked.’

The source added: ‘Two experienced foster carers couldn’t cope with him – how were [Williamson and Cole] going to manage?’

On July 30, 2021 – the day before Logan’s body was found – Miss Williams carried out an unannounced visit to check on Mulligan. But Williamson refused to let her in, saying Logan was isolating because of Covid.

Mulligan in turn informed the social worker that he did not need her any more – and then told her to ‘f*** off’.

Miss Williams dismissed the outburst ‘as playful banter’.

It wasn’t funny at the time. And no one is laughing now.

Shocking blunders and missed opportunities to save Logan 

Social services repeatedly failed to spot signs that Logan Mwangi was being abused during his short life – despite clear warnings in the weeks and months before his death.

1. Logan’s broken arm

August 16, 2020

Medics call police over possible safeguarding concerns as mother Angharad Williamson waited a day before bringing him into hospital after breaking his arm.

Williamson is quizzed by a detective and tells him Logan fell down the stairs at John Cole’s home nearby – but no further action is taken.

2. Pushed down the stairs

January 21, 2021

Williamson calls 101 and says Mulligan had confessed to pushing Logan down the stairs the previous August. Logan is placed on the child protection register as a result of Cole’s previous convictions.

3. ‘Burned by hot tap’

May 2021

Williamson calls social worker Gaynor Rush to report that Logan has ‘burned his neck on the bath’.

She asks for photos of the wound and the tap and concludes they were a match. In court, Cole claimed Williamson burned Logan with a scalding teaspoon as a punishment – however she denied doing so.

4. Cole’s bid for parental responsibility

June 2021

Mulligan’s social worker Debbie Williams supports Cole being granted parental responsibility for the 13-year-old – despite Logan having just been taken off the child protection register. Social worker Gaynor Rush tries to speak to Williams over concerns but said she was ignored.

5. Social worker doesn’t ask to see Logan

July 30, 2021

Debbie Williams attends the family home to check on Mulligan on the day before Logan died. She does not ask to speak to Logan and is not allowed in as he’s self-isolating. Cole asks about claiming benefits, while Mulligan tells her to ‘f*** off’ and says he did not need her any more.

Medical experts have said it was likely that Logan was already seriously injured at this time.

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