But this apparently touching footage hides a dark secret. Just months after it was filmed, the older boy would go on to kill his younger sibling in one of the most disturbing murder cases in recent memory.
Craig Mulligan, 14, murdered his stepbrother Logan Mwangi then helped dump his body in a river 250 yards from his home in Bridgend, South Wales. He has now been unmasked for the first time after an anonymity order was lifted by a judge.
And it can now be revealed how social workers agreed he could move into the family’s cramped flat just five days before the murder. The teenager moved in despite previously threatening to kill Logan.
In the latest deadly failure to protect children, Logan was tortured and left to die by Mulligan along with his stepfather, racist ex-convict John Cole, 40, and the ‘defenceless’ boy’s mother, Angharad Williamson, 31.
Scandalously Logan had been stepped down on the child protection register just weeks before his death by social workers from Bridgend Council. The same children’s services department also supported moving Mulligan out of foster care and into the family home.
That fact was only reportable after a judge ruled it was of ‘significant public interest’ to name Mulligan so the family dynamics could be explained.
Bridgend Council has been accused of seeking to hide their missed opportunities to save Logan, with prosecutor Caroline Rees QC telling the court that social workers had requested to be anonymised during the course of proceedings.
The council kept a close eye on proceedings throughout the nine-week trial, often having two press officers and two solicitors in court, as well as other officials from Children’s Services. Later, after the guilty verdicts were returned lawyers for the council suggested removing Mulligan’s anonymity would ‘affect his rehabilitation’.
Logan’s killing has chilling echoes of the tragic deaths of 16-month-old Star Hobson and six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, who were all murdered after suffering months of systematic abuse at the hands of their wicked parents and repeatedly let down by agencies which missed chances to intervene.
A serious case review has now been launched into the tragedy by the local council, but MPs have now demanded Wales follow England and Scotland and set up an inquiry to examine the crisis in social care on a national level.
Meanwhile, there are calls for an overhaul of the social care system across the whole of the UK amid widespread outrage at yet another young life being lost.
Logan (left) and Mulligan (right) dance in a video posted to Instagram on December 11. Logan was found dead on July 31 last year
Craig Mulligan (left), who has been convicted of the murder of Logan Mwangi (right). The youth’s identity can be revealed after the judge in the case lifted an anonymity order
The tragedy follows the recent deaths of two other youngsters who suffered similarly horrific neglect.
MPs at Westminster have this week been probing the lockdown murders of 16-month-old Star Hobson and Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, six, with council bosses admitting no social workers had been sacked over the tragedies.
Both were killed by their parents’ partners during the pandemic after social workers missed signs they were being abused.
Mark Drakeford, the Labour First Minister of Wales, has so far rejected calls for an independent review into children’s social work following Logan’s death.
The children failed by the system: How social services missed multiple opportunities to save horrifically abused children
Star Hobson, murdered September 22, 2020
Star Hobson was only 16 months old when she was killed at her home in Keighley, West Yorkshire.
Star was murdered by her mother Frankie Smith’s girlfriend Savannah Brockhill after suffering months of abuse in her home during the Covid lockdown last year. Frankie Smith 20, was handed an eight-year sentence for allowing her daughter’s death. This was extended to 12 years in March for being too lenient.
Brockhill, 28, was convicted of murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years. No appeal was made against her sentence. It was revealed that social services had missed five opportunities to stop her killers in the months before her death on September 22, 2020.
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, murdered June 16, 2020
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, aged six, was murdered by his cruel stepmother Emma Tustin in June. She was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 29 years and the boy’s father Thomas Hughes was jailed for 21 years for manslaughter.
The boy had been seen by social workers just two months before his death, but they concluded there were no safeguarding concerns. In October 2019, Aileen Carabine, a special educational coordinator at Arthur’s school, said Arthur ‘deteriorated’ that month.
However, Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds – herself a child protection social worker for more than 25 years –yesterday said there was ‘no reason’ not to follow the England’s example.
Meanwhile, Welsh Conservative social services spokesman Gareth Davies told the BBC: ‘I do not know why the Labour government in Cardiff Bay do not think there is a need for an independent review of children’s services in Wales.
‘The other three UK nations are conducting one right now and Wales has the worst rate for looked-after children.’
Welsh Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan has vowed to ‘radically reform’ social care following Logan’s tragic death.
Mulligan’s move into Logan’s home – likened during the murder trial to ‘putting a lit match in a powder keg’ – was approved by the secretive family courts after Cole applied for guardianship of Mulligan.
Despite not being a blood relative, Mulligan idolised Cole and referred to him as ‘dad’.
In chilling contrast, he would not refer to Logan as his brother, calling him only ‘the five-year-old’.
Social work insiders told the Mail of their incredulity that Mulligan was allowed to live with Logan, who only weeks earlier had been taken off the child protection register.
Logan’s mother, stepfather and Mulligan – who was described as ‘pure evil’ by a foster carer – were convicted of his murder.
And yesterday life sentences were imposed on Cole – said by the judge to have carried out the attack – as well as Mulligan, who she said joined in, and Williamson, who helped them stage a ‘callous’ cover-up.
Cole was sentenced to at least 29 years behind bars and Williamson 28 years. Mulligan was detained for a minimum of 15 years.
Amid horror over the previously hidden truth about how Mulligan’s presence was approved by those meant to protect Logan, calls were last night made for Wales to follow England’s example and instigate a nationwide inquiry into child protection failures.
Last night, disturbing footage of Mulligan’s arrest laid bare his arrogant response to Logan’s death, showing him chewing gum and apparently showing no emotion.
The baby-faced 13-year-old calmly lied to officers that when he and Cole were caught on CCTV carrying a black bag at 2.45am on July 31, it contained ‘rubbish’ from the back garden which they ‘chucked’ in the river.
In reality, the black bag contained Logan’s body.
Following the sentence, Bridgend Council Chief Executive Mark Shephard said: ‘Now that the trial has concluded, Cwm Taf Morgannwg Regional Safeguarding Board is leading on the commissioning of a child practice review to enable relevant agencies to fully assess and consider their roles, and to determine whether any improvements can be made to further strengthen the overall standard of local services.
‘As Bridgend County Borough Council is fully participating in this process, we cannot offer further comment or pre-empt whatever the findings of this comprehensive and impartial review may be.
‘We are awaiting the review’s findings, and together with our partners we will implement any recommendations that it may contain to ensure that we can provide the best, most effective services possible for the local community.
‘Our thoughts remain with Logan, and all who knew or cared for him. His tragic death has affected us all, and a wide range of support services are available to access at this difficult time.’
The last major social services failure in Wales was just six years ago – when adoptive father Matthew Scully-Hicks killed his 18 month old daughter Elsie under the eye of social workers.
A child safeguarding review at the time found Scully-Hicks, and his husband Craig, were seen as ‘positive parents’ and the catalogue of abuse suffered at the hands of the personal trainer were written off by medics and social workers as accidents.
Even his foster carers were terrified of him: Teenager Craig Mulligan’s involvement in the death of five-year-old Logan Mwangi should never have been allowed to happen, writes TOM RAWSTORNE
His name will go down in infamy alongside those of Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, the two ten-year-olds jailed for killing James Bulger. It was a crime that saw them become the youngest children to be convicted of murder in modern British history.
At 13, Craig Mulligan was only slightly older when he joined in the attack that left poor Logan Mwangi dying in agony.
The youth’s identity can be revealed today after the judge in the case lifted an anonymity order. But what can also be revealed for the first time is that his involvement in the death of the defenceless five-year-old could – and should – never have been allowed to happen.
Mulligan’s behaviour had been raising red flags for years. Brought up in chaotic circumstances, he delighted in torturing animals and other children, his simmering aggression terrifying even adults. One foster carer described him as ‘pure evil’.
He first came into contact with Logan when his own ‘stepfather’ John ‘Jay’ Cole started dating the little boy’s mother, Angharad Williamson, in 2019. It wasn’t long before he was accused of pushing the child down the stairs, fracturing his arm.
The photo shows Angharad Williamson and her fiance Jay Cole, the mother and stepfather of Logan Mwangi, aged five, who was found dead in the Ogmore River near Pandy Park close to his home in Bridgend in South Wales on 31 July last year
Mulligan should not have been allowed within a million miles of Logan – a vulnerable child whose welfare social services were supposed to be monitoring. Instead, a decision was taken by the family court to formally place the disturbed teenager in the care of Cole and Williamson, meaning he would live with Logan in a two-bed flat.
One social worker involved in the case told the Daily Mail that she was dumbfounded by the decision to allow Mulligan to live with Logan. ‘Craig Mulligan should never have been allowed to live in the same household as Logan. Any social worker would say that. It’s common sense.
‘To have a teenager like that placed with a young boy who’d been on a child protection plan should be an absolute no-no.’
Yet Mulligan moved in on July 26, 2021. Five days later Logan’s body was found.
Meanwhile, it is hard to imagine a less suitable guardian for the pair than Cole. A vile racist with a long list of convictions for everything from violent assaults to witness intimidation, the 40-year-old claimed to have been in the SAS but was in fact nothing more than a controlling bully.
A post mortem discovered 56 external injuries to Logan’s body as well as a torn bowel and liver – the sort of damage normally seen in a car crash or fall from height.
How these injuries were inflicted on Logan no one fully knows. Instead of admitting what they had done, the three turned on one another, concocting conflicting stories in a bid to deflect the blame.
But perhaps the most likely explanation came from Logan’s mother, Williamson, who told how Cole had punched Logan three or four times in the stomach and ‘sent him flying’ following a row.
She told police that Cole then encouraged the teenage Mulligan to join in the attack, adding that he ‘punched him to the floor and banged his head in the hallway after Jay did it’. She said: ‘Jay encouraged Craig to do it.’
Two days later Logan was dead, Mulligan accompanying Cole as he dumped the boy’s body into a nearby river like fly-tipped rubbish. The teenager has never shown the slightest remorse. The opposite in fact. Two weeks after Logan’s death, Mulligan was heard singing: ‘I love kids. I f****** love kids. I love to punch kids in the head. It’s orgasmic’.
For clues as to how Mulligan now finds himself facing life in prison, we must begin with his birth in Coventry in 2007 to a woman called Rebecca Trudgill.
His dad died when he was young, and Miss Trudgill soon started dating Cole. He formed a father-son relationship with the young boy, who worshipped him.
The couple moved to Bridgend, apparently to give Mulligan, who suffered from ADHD and autism, a better life. However, the relationship between Cole and Miss Trudgill broke down in 2017.
Mulligan was then placed with foster parents – but they were shocked by his behaviour and were left fearing for their safety.
He hid knives around the house and deliberately stamped on the feet of another girl living there who had come out of hospital after an operation on her toes.
On a trip to the cinema to watch In The Heights, the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical set in New York, he shouted out ‘Kill all the Jews!’ at the top of his voice.
He tortured pets and when he told his foster mother he wanted a baseball bat, she bought him one thinking he wanted to take up the sport. Instead, he used it to smash up the local park.
At home, Mulligan would refuse to wash, playing on his X-Box around the clock and urinating in an empty Coca-Cola bottle rather than going to the toilet.
Towards the end of his stay, the foster carer’s daughter said she heard Mulligan making threats to kill Logan – including on the week he was allowed to move into the five-year-old’s home.
But she did not raise the specific concerns about Logan because Mulligan was ‘always talking about killing people’ and was ‘obsessed with killing’.
The foster couple did raise their concerns separately with Debbie Williams, Mulligan’s social worker, but claim they were brushed off.
But Miss Williams told the court she was not told about Mulligan threatening the family.
During his stay with the foster family, he would talk about Cole non-stop. On one occasion he even turned down a caravan holiday to Cornwall with the family, saying: ‘It’s too far from Jay.’
Mulligan’s desire to live with Cole required approval by the family court, a process that began that summer despite deep concerns from Logan’s social worker, Gaynor Rush.
Following a review in June 2021, Logan’s status changed from being a child in protection to a child in need.
Such arrangements are for children who are not deemed at risk but have complex needs. This meant he no longer had an allocated social worker.
Miss Rush said when she heard Williamson and Cole were applying for parental responsibility for Mulligan, she never believed it would be allowed to happen.
She also said she had tried, without success, to contact Mulligan’s social worker, Miss Williams, on multiple occasions to get ‘a better picture of what was going on’.
She only found out the family had been granted parental rights for Mulligan on July 26, 2021, when Logan’s mother texted her.
What was said in the family court to persuade the judge that Mulligan should move into Logan’s home is not known.
But speaking to the Daily Mail, sources close to the case have expressed concerns about the process and whether Mulligan’s situation was efficiently assessed.
‘My big question is did the Cafcass [the organisation that represents children in family court cases in England] adviser undertake a child impact assessment before they were given parental responsibility over Craig?
‘Especially given the trauma he’d been through,’ the source said. ‘A parental assessment takes 12 weeks. You need to take observations of the child, focus on their behaviour at school, talk to their teachers, how the kids interact with one another. How could they have done those checks within a couple of weeks? It doesn’t add up. Logan was an articulate boy, they could have asked him about Craig coming home. He could have talked to the judge about how he felt if he’d been asked.’
The source added: ‘Two experienced foster carers couldn’t cope with him – how were [Williamson and Cole] going to manage?’
On July 30, 2021 – the day before Logan’s body was found – Miss Williams carried out an unannounced visit to check on Mulligan. But Williamson refused to let her in, saying Logan was isolating because of Covid.
Mulligan in turn informed the social worker that he did not need her any more – and then told her to ‘f*** off’.
Miss Williams dismissed the outburst ‘as playful banter’.
It wasn’t funny at the time. And no one is laughing now.
Shocking blunders and missed opportunities
Social services repeatedly failed to spot signs that Logan Mwangi was being abused during his short life – despite clear warnings in the weeks and months before his death.
1. Logan’s broken arm
August 16, 2020
Medics call police over possible safeguarding concerns as mother Angharad Williamson waited a day before bringing him into hospital after breaking his arm.
Williamson is quizzed by a detective and tells him Logan fell down the stairs at John Cole’s home nearby – but no further action is taken.
2. Pushed down the stairs
January 21, 2021
Williamson calls 101 and says Mulligan had confessed to pushing Logan down the stairs the previous August. Logan is placed on the child protection register as a result of Cole’s previous convictions.
3. ‘Burned by hot tap’
Williamson calls social worker Gaynor Rush to report that Logan has ‘burned his neck on the bath’.
She asks for photos of the wound and the tap and concludes they were a match. In court, Cole claimed Williamson burned Logan with a scalding teaspoon as a punishment – however she denied doing so.
4. Cole’s bid for parental responsibility
Mulligan’s social worker Debbie Williams supports Cole being granted parental responsibility for the 13-year-old – despite Logan having just been taken off the child protection register. Social worker Gaynor Rush tries to speak to Williams over concerns but said she was ignored.
5. Social worker doesn’t ask to see Logan
July 30, 2021
Debbie Williams attends the family home to check on Mulligan on the day before Logan died. She does not ask to speak to Logan and is not allowed in as he’s self-isolating. Cole asks about claiming benefits, while Mulligan tells her to ‘f*** off’ and says he did not need her any more.
Medical experts have said it was likely that Logan was already seriously injured at this time.