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Social work on trialThe Colwell Inquiry and the state of welfare$
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Ian Butler

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847428684

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847428684.001.0001

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The public inquiry

The public inquiry

(p.91) four The public inquiry
Social work on trial

Ian Butler

Mark Drakeford

Policy Press

This chapter focuses on the landmark public inquiry that followed Maria Colwell's death. The Kepples' (Pauline Kepple and William Kepple) neighbours expressed anger as well as concern to find out what had happened to Maria. On May 18, 1973, the Member of Parliament for Brighton Kemptown, Andrew Bowden, was ushered into the office of the Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Security, Sir Keith Joseph. This chapter describes both how that meeting came to take place and how the subsequent public inquiry came to be established. As well as being present in the public gallery and in the queues outside on certain days, the ‘public’ were to be ‘represented’ at the Colwell Inquiry through the evidence provided for it by family members and by the Kepples' neighbours on the Whitehawk Estate. The neighbours, in particular, contributed to the construction of one of the most important commentaries on the events surrounding Maria's death. After undergoing trial, William Kepple was convicted of Maria's murder on April 16.

Keywords:   Maria Colwell, neighbours, Pauline Kepple, William Kepple, Andrew Bowden, Keith Joseph, public inquiry, Whitehawk Estate, trial, evidence

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