Author Topic: Former Baby P child protection chief Sharon Shoesmith says SHE is a 'victim'...  (Read 528 times)


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Former Baby P child protection chief Sharon Shoesmith says SHE is a 'victim' because she cannot get a job following 2007 killing

    Shoesmith was head of children's services at Haringey when Baby P died
    Baby P was 17-months-old when he was tortured to death in August 2007
    He was killed by his mother's sadistic boyfriend and his paedophile brother
    Haringey missed a string of opportunities to take the toddler into care
    Last night Mrs Shoesmith said 'we have all been victims in this'

By Tom McTague, Deputy Political Editor for MailOnline

Published: 10:59, 28 October 2014 | Updated: 13:16, 28 October 2014

The former head of children's services at the council which failed to save Baby P from being tortured to death has claimed she was a 'victim' of the scandal.

Sharon Shoesmith defended Haringey Council despite its abject failure to prevent the death of the 17-month old, who was killed in August 2007 by his mother's sadistic boyfriend and his paedophile brother.

But last night Mrs Shoesmith claimed she was a 'victim' of the case. She said: 'Peter was a victim of male child homicide, but you know we have all been victims in this.'

Appearing on BBC's Newsnight she revealed she had not worked since 2008, despite applying for 'several hundred jobs'.

She said: 'You can't simply sack people. I think there needs to be an honest process. The real issue here is about familial child homicide.'

Last year it emerged Mrs Shoesmith was awarded nearly £680,000 for unfair dismissal after Ed Balls sacked her in December 2008 during the height of public outrage over the killing.

Mrs Shoesmith attacked the way she was sacked. She said: 'When you have public accountability and harm to children then the result is explosive. You can't be accountable to a public that have been told lies.

'You can't have these kneejerk reactions. You have got to have some sort of process.'

Baby P, whose real name was Peter Connelly, was just 17 months old in 2007 when he was found dead in his blood-spattered cot at his mother's flat in Tottenham, north London, after suffering 50 separate injuries, including a broken back.

His mother Tracey Connelly, who was jailed in 2009 for allowing her son Peter to be tortured to death by her boyfriend Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen.

Connelly was released from County Durham's Low Newton jail at the end of October. Probation officers ruled though the woman was still a danger to children, she is no longer a danger to the public.

The case provoked a national scandal after it emerged that social workers, police and doctors missed a series of warning signs that could have saved the child's life.

Baby Peter had been seen by a string of social workers, police and health professionals, but they failed to take him into care. He had been on the 'at risk' register for months when he died.

Connelly's boyfriend was a sadistic neo-Nazi who raped a two-year-old girl, tortured his own grandmother and is suspected of sex attacks on other children.

His brother was a crack cocaine addict and convicted arsonist who was accused of raping a girl of 11.

In the wake of his death, Ofsted published a damning report which exposed deep failings in Mrs Shoesmith's department.

Haringey council also failed to save tragic eight-year-old Victoria Climbie who was killed in 2000 after being beaten, burned and tortured by her great aunt.

Marie Therese Kouao and her boyfriend Carl Manning claimed she was possessed and were found guilty of her murder in 2001.

Mrs Shoesmith was awarded compensation after Ed Balls - pictured for a recent documentary 'Baby P: The Untold Story - sacked her at the height of the crisis when he was the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

During her Newsnight interview, broadcast last night, she admitted that the number of mistakes made had been 'breathtaking when you look at it all together', but refused to describe the failures as 'serious'.

'It depends how you're going to define serious. What is a serious failure?' she asked.

'I believe I took responsibility and I believe that I was entirely accountable to my role.'

Haringey Council's failure to investigate his mother's lies meant Peter and eight other children were left inside their squalid home in North London.

Peter and his three sisters were sharing the four-bedroom house with their mother, her boyfriend Barker, his paedophile brother Owen and his four children, plus Owen's 15-year-old girlfriend.

Three of the children Peter and two of his siblings were on Haringey's Child Protection Register because of fears they were being neglected by their mother.

Social workers, health visitors and doctors saw the family 60 times before 17-month-old Peter died from his horrific injuries, which included a snapped spine and eight broken ribs.

But none of these professionals realised that two men were living in the house, despite a family support official meeting 6ft 4in Barker during a home visit.

The most basic check into their backgrounds would have revealed that Barker had been prosecuted by the RSPCA for abusing animals, and that he and his brother were investigated for torturing their own grandmother.

Owen, who changed his name after a family row, has a string of convictions for burglaries, arson and assault, and was accused of raping an 11-year-old when he was only 13.

Barker and Owen were both convicted of causing or allowing Peter's death after he was found dead in 2007.

Barker was given 12 years while Owen was handed an indeterminate sentence but told he would be eligible for parole in three years.

Connelly admitted allowing her son's death and was also given an indeterminate sentence. Her five-year minimum tariff means she would be eligible for release in 2012.

At a subsequent trial in April, Barker was given a life sentence for the rape of the two-year-old, with a 20-year minimum.


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Yeah, right!  Maybe if she and her department had pulled their fingers out Peter could have been alive today.