Social workers under fire over Scots teens whose mum left her to die while she went to pub


Social workers have come under fire over the death of a 13-year-old girl whose mum left her to die on a couch while she went to the pub.

Robyn Goldie developed peritonitis and passed away in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, in July 2018 having suffered a perforated duodenal ulcer.

Her callous mother Sharon Goldie, 46, was later jailed for three-and-a-half years for failing to seek medical treatment for the teen who fell victim to harrowing neglect.

Robyn’s death prompted North Lanarkshire Child Protection Committee to commission a significant case review (SCR).

The report was published on Friday and outlined a string of failures.

The probe found social workers displayed a “lack of urgency” over escalating problems at the family home.



Robyn pictured with her mom Sharon Goldie.

Instead they put too much emphasis on trying to assist Robyn in “achieving her own safety” rather than focusing on a lack of parental care.

The report highlighted how Robyn and her mother were “living like siblings”, with the youngster frequently missing school.

It found social workers believed the family’s difficulties could be “speedily resolved” despite cops being regularly called to their home and Robyn enduring physical assaults.

The SCR concluded some information sharing practices were “not working effectively” and needed improvement.

Sharon Goldie was originally charged with killing her daughter but prosecutors accepted a not guilty plea to a culpable homicide charge.

She admitted willfully ill treating and neglecting Robyn between July 2017 and July 2018. During that period, Goldie hit Robyn, pulled her hair, bit her and spat at her and prevented her from getting timely and adequate medical treatment.

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Robyn passed away in July 2018.
Robyn passed away in July 2018.

Robyn had begged for her help in the days leading to her death, complaining she was “hurting all over”. But Goldie accused her of “attention seeking.”

The mum went to a pub on the day of her daughter’s death and returned to find her lying slumped across a sofa.

Robyn had previously enjoyed a stable life living with her gran but was returned to her mum’s care in 2017.

Sentencing her in October 2020, judge Lord Beckett said it was “troubling to learn from the narrative that warning signs were picked up at school, by neighbors and social workers and yet this situation was allowed to continue for more than a year”.

The case review found social workers and cops “responded frequently to the family” during November and December 2017 and both agencies “noted physical assaults on Anne”.

It said “there is evidence that professionals took each incident seriously” but they were “largely absorbed into the existing narrative of ‘mutual adjustment’ rather than reframed as an emerging pattern of problematic interaction”.



A memorial bench in memory of Robyn.
A memorial bench in memory of Robyn.

By May 2018 the report found social workers were showing a “lack of urgency and an inappropriate allocation of responsibility for achieving her own safety to (Robyn)”.

In her introduction to the report, Marian Martin, independent Chair of the North Lanarkshire Child Protection Committee, said: “While the death of (Robyn) from an acute medical condition may not have been predictable, the report identifies some missed opportunities across services to provide more effective support to (Robyn).”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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