Major probe into why woman who kept toddler in cage allowed to look after kids after trying to sell a baby for £1m

A MAJOR probe is under way into why a woman who kept a toddler in a cage was allowed to take care of children after she tried to sell a baby for £1million.

Evil Claire Boyle, 34, was convicted of child neglect after she trapped a two-year-old boy in a modified cot with a wooden frame strapped across the top.

A neglected four-year-old also living in the house of horror fled the flat in Ayrshire, Scotland, and had so many bruises that doctors thought he had cancer.

He was able to squeeze through a six-inch gap in a window before dropping four feet to the ground.

The boy was found wandering the streets alone in Newmilns, East Ayrshire, in his pyjamas in the pouring rain on October 3, 2018.

It was Boyle’s third neglect conviction after she was under the influence of drink or drugs on a sofa with a distressed child at her feet, reports the Daily Record.

Boyle was later convicted for trying to sell a baby for £1million on Ayr High Street.


A huge investigation has now been launched to determine how she was able to look after children.

Social workers are assessing if the abuse of the boy in the cage could have been prevented.

A source close to the probe said: “She should never have been allowed anywhere near any child after her first neglect conviction.

“She was allowed to still look after children – it’s madness. The whole sorry situation sums up how broken the system really is.

“To say they failed would be an understatement. If they’d done their jobs properly, this would never have happened."

After the four-year-old boy was found, doctors feared he may have an “underlying medical condition”.

Dr Christine Findlay, a consultant paediatrician with NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said there were "fingertip bruises" on the older boy suggesting "a child having been grabbed".

She should never have been allowed anywhere near any child after her first neglect conviction."

She said there were so many bruises doctors believed the boy may have had an "underlying medical condition which predisposed the child to bleeding – a blood disorder, like hemophilia or leukemia".

An investigation was launched and officers later found the younger boy trapped in a cage.

Giving evidence, Police Constable Adam Peppard said: "[The toddler’s] nappy was full and hanging low and he was upset.

"[He] was within the makeshift cot – the bottom of the cot had been removed and strapped to the top to stop the child getting out. It was turned into a very risky cage.

"She [Boyle] started blaming it on the other child. She said it was ‘all his fault’. She stated he was able to open the window and let himself out.

"She said her solution was to put things in front of the window and to put the base over the top of the cot."

Boyle is now facing jail following her third conviction for child neglect.


Boyle and Timothy Johnstone, 57, were both convicted of neglect on Thursday after a trial at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court.

The judge adjourned the case and called for background reports to be prepared ahead of sentencing.

South Ayrshire Council confirmed that a review of their handling the children’s safety is now under way.

A spokesperson said: “The safety and wellbeing of children is always a priority.

“A Significant Case Review has been launched in partnership with East Ayrshire Council, the review is being led by Professor Paul Martin, chair of the Child Protection Committee.

“Since the review is under way, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.”

Marion MacAulay, head of children’s health, care and justice services at East Ayrshire Council said: “We are aware of the circumstances surrounding these children and we are working with the relevant agencies in accordance with national guidance.

“We launched a Significant Case Review in partnership with South Ayrshire Council as soon as the circumstances were made known to us.

“Given the ongoing review, it is not appropriate for us to make further comment.”

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