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Background: Baby P child abuse

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 11 August 2009

In 2007 baby Peter Connelly died of injuries inflicted by his mother and stepfather in a case that uncovered systemic failings in UK child protection. Here is a timeline of key details.

Baby P tribute (Getty)


- 1 March: Peter Connelly is born to Tracey Connelly.
- November: Connelly's boyfriend, Steven Barker, moves into her home. This is kept from police and social workers.
- 11 December: Peter is taken to Whittington Hospital in Archway, north London, with bruises on his head, nose, chest and right shoulder.
- 19 December: Police arrest and interview Connelly on suspicion of assaulting her son. She denies injuring him.
- 22 December: Peter is placed on the child protection register.


- January: Peter is returned to his family.
- June: Barker's brother, Jason Owen, moves into the home with a 15-year-old runaway he describes as his girlfriend.
- 30 July: Maria Ward, a social worker with Haringey Council in north London, makes a pre-arranged home visit. She misses injuries on Peter's face and hands after he is deliberately smeared with chocolate to hide them.
- 31 July: Police hand reports to the Crown Prosecution Service, including statements from two doctors saying Peter's bruising was suggestive of "non-accidental" injury. Prosecutors decide there is not enough evidence to bring a case.
- 1 August: Peter is taken to a child development clinic at St Ann's Hospital in Tottenham, north London. Paediatrician Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat decides she cannot carry out a full check-up as the boy is "miserable and cranky". A post-mortem examination later reveals Peter had probably already suffered a broken back and fractured ribs by this point.
- 2 August: Police tell Connelly she will not be prosecuted. That evening, the child receives the fatal last blow to the mouth, knocking his tooth out.
- 3 August: A 999 call is made at 11.36am. Four minutes later paramedics find Peter lying in his cot. He is pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. An attempt has been made to cover up the crime, with the child's clothes and bedding removed and dumped.


- 11 November: Owen and Barker are found guilty at the Old Bailey of causing or allowing the death of a child. Connelly has already pleaded guilty to the same offence.
- 12 November: Children's Secretary Ed Balls orders an urgent review of Haringey Council's children's welfare services.
- 21 November: The General Medical Council suspends Dr Al-Zayyat's registration as a doctor.
- 1 December: Inspectors deliver a damning report on Haringey children services to Mr Balls, who describes their findings as "devastating". Haringey Council's leader, George Meehan, and cabinet member for children and young people, Liz Santry, resign. Mr Balls removes Sharon Shoesmith as the local authority's director of children's services, but she remains suspended on full pay.
- 8 December: Ms Shoesmith is sacked by a panel of councillors with immediate effect and told she will not receive any compensation.


- 12 January: A panel of Haringey councillors rejects Ms Shoesmith's appeal against her dismissal.
- 17 February: The General Medical Council suspends from practice family GP Dr Jerome Ikwueke, who twice referred Peter to hospital specialists after becoming concerned about suspicious marks on his face and body.
- 6 March: Ms Shoesmith lodges an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal against Haringey Council and launches an application for judicial review against the council, Mr Balls and Ofsted.
- 12 March: A review of child protection in England, commissioned after Peter's death and led by Lord Laming, finds that too many authorities have failed to adopt reforms introduced following the 2000 Victoria Climbie tragedy.
- 29 April: Haringey Council sacks four key social workers, including deputy director of children and families Cecilia Hitchen and Ms Ward.
- 1 May: Barker is found guilty at the Old Bailey of raping a two-year-old girl on Haringey's at-risk register. Connelly is cleared of cruelty to the girl.
- 13 May: The NHS is criticised by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission for "systemic failings" in the care given to Peter before his death.
- 22 May: Judge Stephen Kramer describes Connelly as "manipulative" and "calculating" as he jails her indefinitely with a minimum term of five years for her part in her son's death. Barker is jailed for life with a minimum of 10 years for raping the two-year-old girl and given a 12-year term to run concurrently for his "major role" in Peter's death. Owen receives an indefinite sentence with a minimum term of three years.
- 3 July: Inspectors warn that Haringey Council is still not protecting all vulnerable children from abuse and has made only limited progress in tackling areas of weakness.
- 11 August: Connelly and Barker are named for the first time after a court order protecting their anonymity expires.

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