Ainlee Labonte
June 24, 1999 - January 7, 2002

Find A Grave Memorial

As the creator of this site, I can identify with the struggle of one woman who tried to get help for Ainlee Labonte. As I type this, I worry about three children, a two and a half year old, a five year old and an unborn child. I was asked to help someone get help for these children, the woman asking me to help sent several pictures and two videos of the abuse these children are suffering through. She had contacted CPS and the Police and at that point, almost a month later, the children were still with their mother, that was in November of 2014. At this point, as of today's date, December 29, 2014, I have contacted four different reporting agencies and to my knowledge, the children are still with their mother. I can under- stand the frustration of the woman in the story below.

A woman who I will not name here, for her own safety, reported the abuse she felt Ainlee was going through, she even kept a diary of what she heard and saw, I will call her Grace, because it seems fitting:

"I am writing this at about 6:30 a.m., I'm still getting upset, tears. The noises have
already started upstairs. Who do I phone? In the past - nothing, but buck passes
round. Help!"

It would take 18 months for the abuse to end, however, it ended with the death of this precious little Angel. The anonymous would be interviewed and would be a witness in court. Interviewed in her home, surrounded by pictures of her own children and grandchildren, she remembered the little girl who she tried to help:

"It didn't matter who I called, what I did, nothing happened. The ones who did nothing,
who didn't bother, I can't believe they weren't sacked. Everybody knew the situation.
They should have got off their bums in their nice warm offices and got someone with
a bit of common sense inside that flat. It should never have happened, never in a
million years"

When Dennis Henry, a 39 year old man and Leanne Labonte, a 20 year old women moved into the flat above hers, Grace noticed they blacked out the windows and the noises started soon after they moved in. Living in the home with the two "adults" were two children, Ainlee Labonte and her half brother, that was the Summer of 1999:

"They had blacked out all of the windows with bin bags and the banging and
shouting had already started. I phone the council and said, I'm a bit concerned.
There's a kid in there, can you send someone round? They said, We'll deal with
it Madam"

Threats started to come from the couple towards Grace, calling her a nosey b***h and leaving disgusting things outside of her door. Grace noticed that things were getting worse in the apartment above hers and she began to keep a diary of what she heard, with the intentions of showing the Council that the couple needed to be evicted and that someone needed to do an investigation into what was going on with the children upstairs:

"In the end, I was desperate. I lost count of the time I phone 999. I would ring the Police,
environmental health, everybody, anybody. I would scream down the phone. You would
have thought they would have followed it up. They didn't seem to have the time to see
anything through"

Grace called the Police at 2:30 a.m. on one occasion after hearing Leanne scream at Dennis that if he didn't stop tormenting the baby she was going to f*****g murder him:

I will never forget it. These two young coppers came in. One said, "Off the record,
none of those kids have got a chance".

Grace didn't sleep at all that night and when she called again at about 9:00 a.m., no one showed up. In August of 200, the Council found another place for Grace to live, but the children upstairs never received any help.

Reports say that Social Services had been to the home, however, they were afraid and intimidated by the couple who had been hostile and abusive towards them, avoided contact when they could and had even stolen medical notes concerning Ainlee to hide her medical problems and changing her last name to Walker:

"It seemed that this couple became so powerful through their manipulation and
aggression that the focus on the needs of the children became lost. One by one
the agencies withdrew for personal safety issues. No one appears to have taken
a step back and evaluate the situation"
Official Report

A spokesmen for Newham Counsel said that Ainlee's death was not a result of the mistakes of one person, but a series of mistakes made by many:

"There was a breakdown in communication. There were issues around supervision
and training. The systems are improving. It is definitely true to say child protection is
better in Newham than it was"

After Ainlee died, Grace remembered that when she was growing up, if a complaint was made, Social Workers would show up in uniform with Police to back them up, they went into the home and made the right decisions. Then she turned on the news one day:

"I turned on the news this week to hear them say: We will learn from it. Then I switched
to a football program and a manager was saying the same thing. It means nothing.
Nothing's going to change. It's going to happen again. It will haunt me. As long as I live,
that child will never be out of my mind"

Sadly, Grace is right, it happens every day.

When 999 was called to the home on January 7, 2002, they found Ainlee lying on the kitchen table and she was already dead. It was clearly evident to them that this child had been abused. An autopsy was done and the Pathologist said that to anyone who saw her, it would have been severely obvious that she was terminally ill in the days leading up to her death and that her injuries would have been obvious to anyone who saw her.

Ainlee was covered in bruises, scabs and injuries totally at least 64 and when she died, she only weighed 21 pounds. Ainlee had been burned with cigarettes, pinched, hit, scaled with hot water and starved. Dennis and Leanne were arrested at the hospital.

Leanne had been arrested in the past for shop lifting and she had been in the system since she was a child. Her mother was an alcoholic who beat her all the time,  her stepfather abused her for a few years and she was blamed when the marriage ended in divorce. Leanne said she had been forced to have sex with a family member when she was only 12 years old and that she had given birth to her first child when she was only 15 years old. Leanne left home and was told by Social Workers that she had become homeless on purpose and that she would have to go back to her mother's home.

At the age of 16, she was pregnant again and this time she had an abortion at 13 weeks and then in 1998, she met Dennis Henry. Henry lied about his age, telling her he was 29, instead of being in his 30's. Henry had been convicted of criminal damage, causing bodily harm, burglary, theft and carrying a bladed weapon and had been jailed for being a pimp, at the time she met him, Henry was living in a bail hostel.

Leanne was excited by the fact that he seemed to listen to her when she talked and he was nice to her. Leanne had become pregnant again by September and in June of 1999, Ainlee was born and Social Services were monitoring the family due to a previous issue with Leanne leaving her first child alone.

Leanne said that Henry took over all of the care for Ainlee and that she had not even seen her since the New Year, or about a week before she died, she also claimed she never heard her scream at all. With Henry becoming increasingly violent, Leanne was said to have called the Police quite often. Leanne also said in court that Henry was drinking heavily and doing Crack Cocaine and that he had abused the boy in the home as well as Ainlee and she felt he might have even been sexually abusing Ainlee. Leanne had been keeping a diary of her and she wrote:

"I am beginning to hate them both. He is always missing from our beds at night
and bathing Ainlee at night. it's him that encourages this sickness. Really I wish
she wasn't born because of this, her birth is the death of Dennis and I's relationship"

Leanne said that Henry often called her names and that she was afraid to call Police and had only seen the injuries on Ainlee on the day she had died. Leanne said all of this even though while they were in jail, she sent Dennis a letter:

"Hope you are well as can be expected in the circumstances that sick Newham has
caused. Anyway, miss my babies and miss you too. Hey darling, I bought a wedding
gown, I want to give you a B job and lots more"

Dennis said that Leanne had hated Ainlee from the start and had even tried to cause herself to miscarry and that he had no idea that she had been being abused and starved to death and he would never have bailed out on her or his responsibility to her.

In court Mr. Justice Levenson said:

"At least until Ainlee was too weak, each time she was burned with a cigarette,
scaled with hot water and pinched causing terrible lesions, I have no doubt that
she would have screamed and screamed until she could scream no more. No
one who was involved or at least implicated in her injuries could possibly have
stood by"

Dennis and Leanne had each tried to place the blame on the other and they plead not guilty. A jury had not been so stupid as to believe either of them and they took less than three hours to find them both guilty. In September of 2002, Mr. Justice Levenson sentenced Dennis Henry to 12 years in prison for the manslaughter charge and nine years for the cruelty and sadly, those sentences would run concurrently instead of allowing for 21 years total. Leanne was crying when the judge sentenced her to ten years for manslaughter and eight years for cruelty to run concurrently, again, instead of spending 18 years, she gets away with only ten.

After the fact, representatives from the Police, Social Services and Health Trusts who had been involved in the case were all very sorry about what had happened:

"Ainlee died a painful death at the hands of her parents, the very people she should have
been able to trust for care and protection above all others. Even Officers with many years
of experience were truly shocked and upset at what this little girl endured"
Assistant Deputy Commissioner - Carole Howlett

I wonder how this woman and all of the others can sleep at night. These are ALSO people who were supposed to protect those children, help them, REMOVE them from that home. They were afraid of Dennis and Leanne so they allowed that abuse to continue until she died a horrible death and NOW they are sorry? Give the world a break and stop playing us for idiots, you ALL failed that child in a big way and you can't change that.

Of course changes were promised, they were going to look at how they failed, they were going to improve, blah blah blah.

Thank you to Cat for caring about Ainlee and helping to get her story out there for people to read and learn from.

This page was created on December 29, 2014
Death occurred in England

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