Baby P’s stepfather guilty of new child abuse horror
The stepfather of Baby P was today convicted of new child abuse charges as the full scale of Haringey council's failings was revealed.
In a historic case which can be reported for the first time today the stepfather was found guilty of raping a two-year-old girl and Baby P's mother was cleared of child cruelty.
That left Haringey and its disgraced former head of children's services Sharon Shoesmith back under the spotlight after it emerged that the toddler was on the child protection register.
Last November Baby P's stepfather and mother were convicted of causing or allowing his death from a catalogue of appalling injuries. Together with lodger Jason Owen, they had been cleared of murder as it could not be established who struck the fatal blows.
Haringey social workers — who failed to protect 17-month-old Baby P, who can be named today as Peter, despite 60 visits and him being on the at-risk register — now face further criticism. The girl, who is now four, was the youngest witness ever to give evidence at the Old Bailey. The two-week trial has been covered by a news blackout imposed by the judge to enable the two defendants, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to receive a fair trial.
The defendants were even given false names so that jurors could not connect them to the Baby P trial. The girl first made the anal rape allegation to her foster mother indicating it had taken place before she was taken into care. She appeared to retract what she had said a few weeks later in November 2007 but repeated it to a doctor, child expert and social worker in January last year.
At that time she said she had been touched and, pointing to her bottom, “it hurt all day”, adding that Baby P's mother was there and had told the boyfriend not to do it. She showed what happened using a doll, teddy bear and toy bed.
In April last year, a 45-minute interview with detectives was video recorded in which she gave a more detailed account. She said that the boyfriend had “hurt me” and P's mother had merely told him: “Don't do it again.”
In the interview played to the jury the girl lies on the floor and shows how the boyfriend crouched over her holding himself up by his arms “like penguins do”. Defence lawyers tried to have her allegations thrown out on the grounds that she was too young, unreliable and had been open to suggestibility.
But Judge Stephen Kramer ruled that she had shown her “understanding, intelligence and an ability to communicate” and had “passed the test” as a competent witness....
Saturday, May 2, 2009
String him up!
I expect you all remember little Baby P, who I named as one of my Heroes of the Year. You may also recall how the social workers in Haringey were sacked from their jobs for failing to protect this precious child. Well, it seems that lessons have not been learned, and one of the monsters convicted in the case of Baby P is still abusing children. The latest victim, that we know about, was also on a child protection list, but that did not protect her at all. I really have no words to adequately express my disgust and outrage at yet another failure: