This is so far out of keeping with anything else I am ever likely to write that I hardly know what to do with it. My first NHS job was in admin in child protection. Eight is not an exaggeration.
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Andrea Westcott. Age 34. Chaotic lifestyle.
I always hated that phrase. What’s a chaotic lifestyle? What Andrea Westcott had. Listen:
Alcohol abuse. Drug abuse. Substance abuse. Ye Gods. Rap sheet as long as this – drug offences, soliciting, petty theft, being in a nice area without due cause. Six domestic abuse referrals – four different men. Eight children taken into care at birth. Eight. Eight families struggling to raise babies whose brains were marred by substance abuse before the mites even opened their eyes.
Andrea Westcott. Age 34. Six months pregnant.
Andrea Westcott informed by her midwife, as the law requires she must be, that the little life that is all she holds will once more be taken from her at birth.
Andrea Westcott. Gone.
Andrea Westcott, prints matched. Body recovered from Such-and-Such Bridge, January 10th. Cause of death? Exposure. Shock. Pneumonia. Take your pick. Autopsy shows recent parturition without medical intervention.
The child? Who knows? Who cares?
As for Such-and-Such Bridge, I don’t like to name it. Maybe it’s in your town. If it is, perhaps you know it. If you don’t, you don’t want to.