level 3 assignment 1 BY clarkey_1995 Appendix 1 Everyone knew that Baby P was in danger. In eight months of abuse, he was seen no fewer than 60 times by health or social workers. But his mother was able to conceal the scale of the danger he was in by manipulating social workers, police and health professionals – on one occasion smearing him with chocolate to cover his bruises. She deceived the authorities with the appearance of cooperation, taking the child to doctors when he was ill and apparently seeking help. On three occasions, the baby as released back into her care. The last was two months before he died.
Baby P’s brief life began on March 1 2006 in north London. Within three months, his father had left and his mother had begun a relationship with a man she met in a pub, one of the two men yesterday found guilty of causing or allowing his death. The first clear signs of abuse began to appear on the child’s body in December 2006, a month after the boyfriend moved in. He had no previous convictions and police have found no evidence that he harmed other children, but one detective said he was “sadistic – ascinated with pain” and Jurors heard suggestions that he may have tortured his younger brother during childhood.
He was described by many witnesses in court as “simple”. The child was used “almost like a punchbag” by adults who were supposed to be looking after him, the prosecution told the Old Bailey, while his mother did nothing about it. Police believe the biggest factor in the tragedy was the boyfriend’s hidden presence in the house. Had they known he was living there, Baby P might have been saved, detectives say. As it was, police had no idea that he had been in the ouse because he had “purposefully evaded” them at every opportunity.
They believe he may have deliberately targeted the family to get at the mother’s E450-a- month benefits. For her part, the child’s mother concealed her boyfriend’s presence because she was afraid her benefits would be cut, and because she was worried about how the baby’s father would react. On December 11 2006, Baby P’s mother took the child to her GP, who noticed that the baby had bruises on his face, chest and right shoulder. When the mother failed to provide a reasonable explanation, he sent hem to hospital.
The baby was examined at the Whittington hospital in north London by a consultant paediatrician, Dr Heather Mackinnon, who concluded the bruises were probably not accidental. Although Baby P’s mother said he had fallen off the sofa, Dr Mackinnon wrote in her notes: “Not to be allowed home. Police protection order if necessary. ” Four days later, Baby P was discharged and placed, informally, in the care of a family friend while police and social workers investigated. The social workers who visited the council flat that housed the family and three dogs found it as dirty, untidy, and smelt of urine.
The baby was often left playing with toys alone while his mother surfed the net or watched television, the court heard. Police described her as “a slob, completely divorced from reality”. The court heard that she seemed more devoted to her dogs than her son. On December 19, Baby P’s mother was arrested for assaulting him and three days later the baby was placed on the child protection register. The time the child spent in the care of the family friend must have been the happiest of his life. For the month he was with her, he was escrlDea as a qulet ana plac10 llttle Doy wno was no trouDle.
More slgnlTlcantly, ne did not develop new bruises. Baby P was returned to his mother on January 26 2007. By then, she had been moved into a house in Tottenham. Social services did not know that her boyfriend had also moved with her. The mother said she would get rid of the dogs and promised to cooperate with the allocated social worker, Maria Ward, and the health visitor, Paulette Thomas, to get Baby P’s name off the register. A friend who visited the mother at home in early April recalled seeing a withdrawn and bruised Baby P sitting in the garden eating dirt.
The mother told her that he had grown fond of the woman who had looked after him for a month. “She said he wanted picking up and cuddles all the time,” said the friend. On April 9, Baby P was taken to hospital with swelling and bruising on the side of his head. His mother claimed he had been pushed over by an older child and hit his head on a marble fireplace. The doctor who examined the child became concerned, and Baby P was admitted to hospital and social services informed. However, once Baby P had been given the all-clear for eningitis, he was allowed home.
By this time the relationship between Baby P’s mother and her boyfriend had begun to deteriorate, and by June 2007 the atmosphere in the house grew more tense – especially after a man named Jason Owen moved in at the end of June. Owen, who moved in because he had split up with his wife and was on the run with his 1 5-year-old girlfriend, was also found guilty yesterday of causing or allowing the baby’s death. Jurors heard that Owen dominated the boyfriend. A witness said: “He was more nervous around Jason. He would do what e was asked to do. ” It had already become obvious that substantial action would be needed to protect Baby P.
Ward, the social worker, made an unannounced visit Just before lunchtime on June 1 and found him lying on the sofa under a blanket. His face was red and she saw bruises under his chin. Four days later, the mother was arrested for a second time. She denied harming him and told detectives that she was “a damn good mum”. The decision was taken on a “multi-agency basis” to allow Baby P back into his mother’s care – albeit under the supervision of the family friend who ad looked after him before. By the end of June, contact between the mother, the social worker and the health visitor had become erratic.
The last time Ward saw Baby P was on July 30. He was sitting in his buggy in the hall, his face, hands and clothes smeared with chocolate. Even though he was restless and fidgety, he smiled at her. Owen later told police that the mother and her boyfriend had rubbed chocolate over the baby to hide his injuries. Senior police officers had concluded Baby P should not be returned. Legal advice was sought to see whether there was enough evidence to ake him into care, but Just over a week before he died, Haringey council’s lawyers said that the “evidence threshold” had not been reached.
On August 1, the mother took Baby P to the child development centre at St Anne’s hospital in Haringey. There he was examined by a consultant paediatrician, Dr Sabah al-Zayyat, who noted that the baby appeared “cranky” and “miserable”, but did not find any indication that he had fractured ribs or a broken back. “He didn’t look any different from a child of his age with a common cold,” she told the court. “He was sitting without support. There as no reason to suspect anything else. ” However, two medical experts told the court that they believed that his injuries would have been evident.
Dr al-Zayyat is now being investigated by the General Medical Council. The next day, his mother was 010 t tnat sne would race no Turtner actlon Tollowlng tne allegatlons 0T assault, as the Crown Prosecution Service had concluded that there was not enough evidence to bring charges. At 11. 35am on August 3 2007, an ambulance was called to the house. Its crew found Baby P already stiff and blue in his blood-spattered cot. As they tried o rush him to hospital, the mother demanded they wait while she collected her cigarettes.
The baby was pronounced dead in hospital at 12. 20pm. His mother was arrested that afternoon, while police caught up with her boyfriend and Owen at a campsite in Epping Forest 11 days later. One detective said: “We had a mother who was purporting to cooperate and who again and again was taking her kid to various doctors and support agencies. “But it’s now clear that she constantly conspired to keep from us what was going on If only we’d known what these adults were like. ” (www. wikipedia-baby_p. co. uk)