Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 13:15 UK

Baby Peter: Trio who caused his death

Baby P
Peter died on 3 August 2007

The couple responsible for the death of 17-month-old Baby Peter can now be named after a court order protecting their identity expired.

His mother is Tracey Connelly, 28, her boyfriend was Steven Barker, 33, and they lived in Penshurst Road, Tottenham, north London.

Peter's name can now be fully disclosed as Peter Connelly.

It can also be revealed that the third defendant in the case, Jason Owen, 37, from Bromley, London, is Barker's brother.

THE MOTHER - TRACEY CONNELLY
Tracey Connelly
Connelly rarely got out of bed before lunchtime

Tracey Connelly first came into contact with social services during her own childhood.

The 28-year-old was brought up in Islington, north London, by a mother with drink and drug problems.

As a teenager she was sent to boarding school where she gained GCSEs including English and Information Technology (IT).

Aged 16, she moved in with Peter's father who was 17 years older than her, after lying about her age. The couple later married.

But when Peter was born, the relationship was all but over and by the time he was three months old, Connelly had a new boyfriend, Steven Barker.

Unknown to social services, Barker secretly moved into her home in Tottenham. She repeatedly told the authorities there were no men living in the house.

'Human faeces'

The picture painted of Connelly in court was of a woman who was at best uninterested in her child.

Richard Johnson, who Connelly only discovered was her biological father four years ago, delayed having an operation to give evidence against her.

He said she spent much of her time lying on the sofa smoking and complaining about how tired she was.

She rarely got out of bed before lunchtime and when Peter was found dead at 1130 GMT, she was still asleep.

When she was awake, she spent much of her time on the internet, gossiping in chat rooms and playing online poker, while Barker was left to care for the little boy.

Connelly's home was described as disgusting.

When police searched it, they found dog mess and human faeces on the floor and rat holes burrowed into the walls.

The bodies of dead chicks, mice and a dismembered rabbit were strewn around.

Distancing herself

Connelly had previously suffered from post-natal depression and according to Sharon Shoesmith, head of Haringey's Local Safeguarding Children Board at the time Peter died, it had seemed they were dealing with a woman who had "poor parenting skills".

A detective in the case put it much more strongly. She called Connelly "a slob, completely divorced from reality [who] put her lover before her child".

Connelly admitted causing her child's death, and prosecutors said she "sacrificed" him for her boyfriend.

A bloody T-shirt worn by the dead boy
Peter's clothes and cot were covered in blood

In fact, she gave evidence to save Barker from a murder conviction, telling the jury he had been a good father to her son.

Connelly wept as she showed the jury a video of Peter's first birthday party in which the child is seen being cuddled by Barker.

She has since tried to distance herself from him.

According to the Sun newspaper, she wrote to a friend from jail: "He brought me down in more ways than I could ever (have) thought possible."

In May, in a separate court hearing, Connelly was cleared of cruelty towards a two-year-old girl, who, like her son, was on Haringey Council's child protection register.

Before sentencing, she wrote to the judge to apologise for the way she treated her son.

"I have lost all I hold dear to me, now every day of my life is full of guilt and trying to come to terms with my failure as a mother," she said.

"I punish myself on a daily basis and there is not a day that goes by where I don't cry at some point."

But Judge Stephen Kramer told her she was "manipulative and self-centred" and said he did not accept her claim she did not know what was happening to her son.

Connelly was told she would serve at least five years in prison but was likely to be free by 2012.

She is currently in Low Newton prison, near Durham, where she is thought to be in a solitary cell, after being moved from London's Holloway prison.

Since being jailed, Connelly has written to a friend saying she wants to party and go travelling when she is released.

THE BOYFRIEND - STEVEN BARKER
Steven Barker
Barker had a collection of Nazi memorabilia

Steven Barker was an unemployed handyman who could neither read nor write.

He and his brother had attacked their frail 82-year-old grandmother, Hilda Barker, in a bid to make her change her will to benefit them.

In 1995, they were accused of locking her in a wardrobe at her bungalow in Whitstable, Kent, beating her black and blue and dressing up in Guy Fawkes masks to scare her.

When Barker moved into Connelly's house he took his collection of Nazi memorabilia and police who searched the property found a number of knives covered with swastikas.

As a child he tortured guinea pigs, once skinning one alive. He also snapped the legs off a frog.

Witnesses in court described him as "simple", but one of the investigating detectives went much further.

She described the 6ft 4in man as "sadistic - fascinated with pain".

Barker spent a lot of time alone with Peter, which is when much of the abuse took place.

He kept a Rottweiler dog, Kaiser, and it was suggested in court that some of Peter's injuries might have been inflicted by the animal.

'Unconcerned'

He was also said to have shaken and punched the little boy, swinging him around by his legs and spinning him round on a chair until he fell off.

If he was ever confronted about his treatment of the baby, he claimed he was trying to "toughen him up".

He even tried to train the boy like his dog.

When he clicked his fingers, Peter would touch his forehead to the floor for fear of being punished.

On the day the boy died, paramedics said they found Barker standing in the hallway of the house, apparently unconcerned.

Kevin Mansfield, from the London Ambulance Service, told the BBC it was "as if he was just waiting for a bus".

In May, Barker was convicted of raping a two-year-old girl. The crime came to light following his arrest over Peter's death.

The girl, who cannot be identified, used a doll and a teddy bear to recreate what happened in a recorded police interview shown to an Old Bailey jury.

He was jailed for 12 years for causing Peter's death and received a life sentence for the rape.

THE BROTHER -JASON OWEN
Jason Owen
Jason Owen had split from his wife and run off with a 15-year-old girl

Peter's injuries escalated in the five weeks after Barker's brother Jason Owen moved into Connelly's house.

Owen had changed his name from Barker while on bail to try to distance himself from the notorious killing.

The father-of-four tried to deny he had ever lived at the house.

But Owen had split with his wife and gone on the run with his 15-year-old girlfriend, moving her into the house too. He had dug a hole in the garden to hide her if the police came.

Prosecutors said Owen both failed to protect Peter from harm and joined in his mistreatment, laughing at the way his brother treated him.

For his part, he blamed his brother entirely for the abuse.

He claimed he sometimes went to check on Peter after hearing him cry and found Barker in the room denying anything was wrong.

But witnesses at the Old Bailey said Owen dominated his younger brother.

Their sister, Susan, 36, described Barker as "a bit backward" and said he was nervous around Owen who had nicknamed him "fatboy".

Immediately after the toddler's death, Owen and Barker went to a cemetery near the house where their movements were recorded on CCTV.

They were carrying a black plastic bin bag which police say contained Peter's blood-spattered clothes and bedding. The area was searched, but it has never been found.

He had been on bail until halfway through the trial when police foiled a plot to flee the country. He had been trying to change his name again and applying for a new passport.

Owen was jailed indefinitely for causing Peter's death and will serve at least three years.



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