8:25am Thursday 1st March 2012
By Matt Watts
An investigation has been launched into how a mum ran off with her baby during a supervised care visit.
Lauryn Bateman, 28, went missing with her 14-month-old son, Terry John Lee, at about 2pm during a visit at the Sutton Family Centre in Robin Hood Lane on Friday, February 24.
It is understood she took her son, evaded security, and drove off with him in a waiting car, in a pre-meditated act.
The baby had been put into the care of Sutton Council because of safeguarding concerns.
At the time this newspaper went to press, they had still not been found.
It is understood the mum had been considered a low-level risk by care services for visits, and had visited her child at the centre on multiple occasions in the past without incident.
A Sutton Council spokeswoman said: “The welfare of all of the children in our care is of paramount importance so robust and proportionate safeguards are in place.
“The courts decide whether there is contact with parents and we offer a secure, but child-friendly place for hundreds of supervised visits to take place each month. "Our staff are highly experienced, a range of security measures are in place and each visit is carefully monitored. We are looking into what happened, but our priority at the moment is to help the police locate Lauryn and Terry.”
Jonathan Pritchard, Conservative opposition spokesman on children and young persons services, said: “I shall be making some detailed enquiries into the circumstances surrounding this supervised visit to ensure that the laid down policy for such has been followed and that if we find any weaknesses that these are dealt with.”
Police said they were becoming increasingly concerned for the pair’s welfare.
The 28-year-old mum is described as 5ft, of petite build, with neck-length dark hair.
She was last seen wearing a grey top, black leggings and black Ugg boots.
She has a piercing in her right nostril and a tattoo on her left arm with the name “Gavin”.
Terry was wearing a blue all-in-one suit, Adidas tracksuit bottoms and black Nike trainers with a white tick, along with a khaki green coat and a mint green fleece.
Anyone with any information on their whereabouts can contact Wallington police on 020 8721 7404 between 8am and 8pm, or out of hours, the MPS non-emergency line 101.
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