A tragic story that cannot be rewritten. Some of us may have forgotten about “Baby P” but the brutal abuse done by his own parents (his own biological mother) is something I don’t think I could ever erase from my memory box. I wonder what was the mother thinking?! Did Baby P ever giggle or did he just barely manage a tiny smile before the reality of his short life set in with the delivery of yet another blow from a nearby fist…
Peter Connelly was born to Tracey Connelly on March 1, 2006 when Tracey’s new BF, Steven Barker moved in with her in November. In December, GP noticed bruises on Peter’s face and chest. Tracey was arrested and Peter was sent to a family’s friend but somehow returned to his mother’s care in January 2007. Over the next few months, Peter was admitted to the hospital on 2 occasions suffering from injuries including bruises, scratching and swelling on the side of his head. Tracey was then arrested again in May 2007.
In June 2007, social workers observed marks on Peter and informed the police. A medical examination concluded that the bruising was due to abuse. On June 4, 2007 baby Peter was placed with a friend for safe-guarding.
On August 1, 2007 baby Peter was admitted at St. Ann’s Hospital in North London by Dr. Sabah Al-Zayyat who did a post-mortem examination later revealed a broken back and ribs, among a number of other injuries that are believed to have pre-dated Dr. Al-Zayyat’s examination. Baby Peter suffered more than 50 injuries over an 8-month period!
On August 3, 2007 an ambulance was called and baby Peter was found in his cot, blue and clad only in a nappy! After attempts of resuscitation, they took him to North Middlesex hospital but was pronounced dead. A post-mortem revealed he had swallowed a tooth after being punched. Other injuries included a broken back, broken ribs, having the tips of fingers sliced off and nails pulled out with pliers!!
The police immediately began a murder investigation and Tracey was arrested. So too Steve Barker, his brother Jason Owen and his 15-year old GF. The trials and convictions was made. On August 11,2009 the identities of baby Peter’s killers were revealed! [Killers]
THE UNTOLD STORY
Haringey Council initiated an internal audit Serious Case Review (SCR) after Peter’s death. After completion of the court case, only an executive summary was released to the public. The full report was kept confidential, with only some employees of Haringey Council and Haringey Labour councillors allowed access. Two local MP’s (Lynne Featherstone and David Lammy), leader of the opposition Robert Gorrie, and opposition spokesperson for Children’s Services were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements to view the document. Ed Balls condemned the Serious Case Review and called for a second report with an independent adjudicator.
The Mail on Sunday on 15 March 2009 reported that details of the SCR had come into its possession. The article claimed that the executive summary of the SCR either conflicted or omitted details about how the case had been handled and the extent of the injuries suffered by Peter. Furthermore, there were instances of mishandling by officials, missed and delayed meetings, miscommunication among officials, and a failure to follow through with decisions related to the child’s safety. It also noted among other issues that officials had not followed through with obtaining an “interim care order” that would have removed Peter from his home when they had agreed that legal grounds had existed for doing so six months before he died; key officials also failed to attend a 25 July 2007 meeting intended to decide if it would be necessary to remove Peter from his mother’s home at that time.
External Reports and Inquiries
Lynne Featherstone MP was critical of Haringey Council, writing “I personally met with George Meehan and Ita O’Donovan – Haringey Council’s leader and chief executive – to raise with them three different cases, where the pattern was in each case Haringey seeming to want to blame anyone who complained rather than to look at the complaint seriously. I was promised action – but despite repeated subsequent requests for news on progress – I was just stonewalled.”
Three council workers, including one senior lawyer, were given written warnings about their actions.
The GMC separately examined the roles of two doctors — Dr Jerome Ikwueke, a GP, and Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat, who examined Peter two days before his death. Although Dr Ikwueke had twice referred Peter to hospital specialists, the GMC’s Interim Orders Panel suspended Dr Ikwueke for 18 months. Dr Al-Zayyat, who has been accused of failing to spot his injuries, was suspended pending an inquiry. Her contract with Great Ormond Street Hospital, responsible for child services in Haringey, has also been terminated.
Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families ordered an external inquiry into Haringey Council Social Services. The inquiry was not to examine the ‘Baby P’ case explicitly, but look into whether Haringey Social Services were following correct procedures in general. This report was presented to ministers on 1 December 2008. During a Press Conference that day, the Minister announced that, in an unusual move, he had used special powers to remove Sharon Shoesmith from her post of head of children’s services at Haringey Council. She rejected calls for her resignation, saying that she wanted to continue to support her staff during the investigations, but was sacked on 8 December 2008, by Haringey Council, without any compensation package. Shoesmith later filed a claim against Haringey Council for unlawful dismissal and sex discrimination. In April 2009, the council announced that its deputy director of children’s services, two other managers and a social worker, who had been suspended pending an enquiry, had also all been dismissed.
Also announced on 1 December 2008, were the resignations of Labour Council leader George Meehan and councillor Liz Santry, cabinet member for Children and Young People.These councillors had previously refused calls for their resignation during a 24 November council meeting.
Three further inquires were also ordered:
- The role of all agencies involved in Peter Connelly’s case, including the health authority, police and Haringey Council, would be reviewed.
- The General Social Care Council would look into potential breaches of its code of practice.
- Lord Laming would conduct a nationwide review of his own recommendations after the Victoria Climbié inquiry.
The DES, now the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) was sent a letter in February 2007 (six months before the death of Baby P), containing an allegation that child protection procedures were not being followed in Haringey, from a lawyer acting for a former social worker, who sent the letter to the then health secretary, Patricia Hewitt who merely forwarded the letter on to the DCSF. Haringey Council then took out an injunction against the social worker, Nevres Kemal, banning her from speaking about child care in Haringey. Kemal’s lawyer stated: “Hewitt bounced us onto the DES… the DES then advised us to write to the Commission for Social Care Inspection whom we had written to on the same day as we had written to Hewitt, copying in the letter to Hewitt and the relevant material. By that time of course they had an injunction against us so we couldn’t go back to the inspectorate. The inspectorate had been properly advised at the time and had done nothing.“
— Sources from Wikipedia.
Nothing these people like Sharon Shoesmith and councils like Haringey can say will change the fact that baby Peter was allowed to exist in hell on earth, in conditions that animals in a zoo do not even have to endure. His is a story that cannot be changed because the hard facts, and the actions and non-actions of those adults around him, speak for themselves.
Baby Peter would have trusted his mother implicitly like all children do, at his murder trial it was said that he was “always wanting cuddles” from a woman who only gave him indifference. Even at the height of his agonies he would have only ever wanted his mom…
You’re safe at last in a place where no one can harm you. RIP Peter Connelly.
p/s:: I know this is such long time ago, but everytime I look at his pictures, I can’t help but wonder who took all these pictures? Who cared enough to do such thing? We do it because we’re preserving those precious moments and memories AND because part of you never wants to let go of that part of them!