Whistleblower Celia Lashlie deserved to be sacked by the Special Education Service last year, her former boss, chief executive Peter Cowley, told MPs yesterday.

An uproar followed Ms Lashlie's dismissal after she spoke out about at-risk children by describing a blond, angelic five-year-old boy from Nelson who was headed for prison. The service said that she had breached client confidentiality. But a month later chairman Graham Lovelock had to resign when an inquiry found she had been unfairly treated.