If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
'Teenage' conman case must never be repeated
A SECOND victim of a fake teen who conned social services has called on Wiltshire Council to ensure people are protected after the 17-year-old boy he took into his home proved to be a 26-year-old conman.
As reported in the Journal last week, Shane Peake was placed in emergency care by the council after he went to them in June this year.
He told them his name was Steven Shaw and he had been thrown out of this home in South Yorkshire because he was gay.
Teacher Mark Mikurenda, 53, and his partner are emergency carers who offer safe temporary lodgings to older teenagers who have nowhere else to go.
They opened their home to Peake, who then stole from them and from charity worker Will Clark, who had also offered him a helping hand.
Peake’s crimes – and his true identity – were discovered when he falsely accused Mr Clark of rape and police began an investigation.
Mr Mikurenda, who lives just outside Salisbury, said he has asked the council for an assurance that if he and his partner, who have been emergency carers for about a year, are to continue to care for young people that every possible precaution will be taken to prevent something like this happening again.
He said: “For this to happen there are three scenarios – either they have procedures in place that weren’t followed, the procedures they have in place aren’t good enough, or they don’t have the procedures in place.
“Whichever it is, it leaves them vulnerable.
“What I am looking for is for Wiltshire Council to say they have investigated and to take responsibility.
I want them to say they have looked at their procedures and improved them so we can rest assured that any other referrals we get will have been thoroughly checked out.”
Mr Mikurenda said he has been told an investigation is taking place and that someone from the council would be in touch with the outcome, but he has been waiting three months and has so far heard nothing. Charity worker Will Clark, who was asked to provide the teenager with additional support through his Salisbury-based charity Rainbow Rooms UK, has also called for the council to review its procedures.
He said: “You aren’t doing someone an injustice by checking up on them – you are protecting yourself and you are protecting them. The council does such a good job in supporting so many young people and people shouldn’t be put off becoming carers.”
Mr Clark was forced to close down the charity he has run for six years and said his life has been “destroyed” by the allegations made against him.
Peake admitted theft, burglary, fraud and perverting the course of justice and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail on October 11.
A council spokesman said: “We apologise for not responding to the family fully and will ensure we do so. We do carry out checks regarding the identity of young people who come to us looking for help, however our priority continues to be protecting the most vulnerable in our communities, no matter what their age.”
Comments are closed on this article.