SOCIAL Services bosses today defended their decision to take tragic teenager Carry Ann Brown into care, despite a family request for her to live with her aunty.

Carry Ann, 14, of Huntington Drive, Darwen, was placed with foster parents by Blackburn with Darwen Council last year after she was found to be pregnant.

She had a termination, but it later emerged that her father, Sean Brown, was the baby's father.

In August 2003, Brown, 35, took Carry Ann from the foster home in Whitebirk, Blackburn, where she was living and drugged her before crashing his car on the M6.

He pleaded guilty to her murder, and last month was jailed for life at Preston Crown Court.

An inquiry into the care of Carry Ann was carried out by Blackburn's Area Child Protection Committee, under an independent chairman.

A four-page executive summary published yesterday concluded that nothing reasonably could have been done by professionals to prevent Carry Ann losing her life.

Blackburn with Darwen Social Services have admitted that "clandestine" discussions could have taken place between Carry Ann and her father during supervised visits before he took her from her carers.

And the report recommended that police and social services tighten up management of contact visits between children in care and parents suspected of abusing them as a result.

Carry Ann's aunt, Yolanda Hillman, Brown's sister, said that if Carry Ann had been allowed to live with her extended family instead of foster carers, things could have been different. But Social Services today said the inquiry had backed their decision to put Carry Ann into care.

Yolanda, of Grimshaw Park, Blackburn, said: "When it was discovered that Carry Ann was pregnant, Social Services asked my mum who would be able to take care of Carry Ann and she said my older sister, who has three daughters of her own, would be able to look after her.

"If they had listened to us in the first place, Carry Ann would have been with us today.

"To move in with a family of strangers was hard for Carry Ann and hard for Sean to cope with, because these people were not related to him."

Yolanda said she believed that Social Services didn't place Carry Ann with her older sister because her sister suffers from panic attacks, although she claims the attacks were being controlled with medication.

She added: "Why didn't they take her out of Blackburn with Darwen? If she had been in Manchester, or Preston, she would not have been able to guide Sean there."

Stephen Sloss, director of Social Services, said: "It was considered in her best interests to place her in foster care at that time. It was not considered appropriate to place her with Sean Brown's family as investigations into abuse were on-going when she was abducted and murdered by him.

"The independent review has now concurred that Carry Ann's care and placement were appropriate."