Page last updated at 08:48 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 09:48 UK

Couple behind Baby P death named

Tracey Connelly and Steven Barker
Those convicted are likely to be given new identities upon release

The couple responsible for the death of 17-month-old Baby Peter have been named after a court anonymity order expired.

He died in Haringey, north London, in the care of his mother Tracey Connelly, 28, and her partner Steven Barker, 33.

A third defendant in the case named as Jason Owen, 37, is now identified as Barker's brother. Baby Peter's surname, Connelly, has also been released.

In May, Connelly and Barker were given minimum terms of five and 12 years for causing or allowing the death of Peter.

In a separate court case, Barker was also given a life sentence for raping a two-year-old girl.

Peter had more than 50 injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken back, when he was found dead in a property in Penshurst Road, Tottenham, in August 2007.

Jason Owen
Jason Owen changed his surname to avoid being linked to the killing

It emerged Owen had changed his name to avoid being connected to the killing of Peter.

Owen, 37, who was jailed for three years, was staying at the home in Tottenham, which is within the borough of Haringey, with his 15-year-old girlfriend.

Speaking to the BBC, Connelly's grandmother Mary O'Connor said she still had contact with her, but did not know "what to believe".

"She lied. She lied to the police, she lied to me and to social services."

Mark Easton
By Mark Easton, Home editor
We have a justice system in this country that says we must name the guilty. But there's a contradiction here because we also want it to protect the innocent.

The difficulty with this case was that there was a very clear contradiction - there were other children involved who were still alive and there is a significant risk.

Some believe that in identifying those responsible for the Baby Peter case that we risk identifying those children and making their lives more difficult.

However, the judge finally decided that their identities are available to those who want to know them and have been for many months on the internet.

I think that if there is a lesson to be drawn from this in terms of identification, it's how can we better ensure that we have a proper criminal justice system that does punish those responsible for crimes but also protects other children.

It has also been revealed that the brothers were charged with assaulting their own grandmother, Hilda Barker, who lived in Whitstable, Kent, in 1995, in an attempt to make her change her will.

That case was dropped when Mrs Barker, 82, died before giving evidence, but she told police she had been locked in a wardrobe by the pair.

It can also be reported that Baby Peter had four siblings.

A judge had ordered none of the defendants could be named because the other children were still being placed with alternative carers. Barker's trial for rape also contributed to the delay in naming the defendants.

Now that all four children are being cared for, the guilty trio's anonymity has ceased.

The notoriety of the Baby Peter case is such that all three convicted people are likely to be given new identities upon release to protect them from vigilante attacks, according to the probation union Napo.

Assistant general secretary Harry Fletcher said: "The question will be, how well known are they in five years' time?

Baby P

"And will Baby P still resonate with the public in terms of horrendous crime?

"If it does - and I suspect it will - the probation service and police will have no choice but to put in place a protection plan."

Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone, said she believed there would be widespread public anger if Connelly and Barker were given police protection after their release from prison.

"There's certainly a section of the public that think that they should be in jail for life and if they come out they should not receive any protection at taxpayers' expense whatsoever," Ms Featherstone said.

"I understand that anger and I hope that the indeterminate sentence is indeterminate and that the minimums that are mentioned are not what is served because I think the public would feel that that would be absolutely unacceptable. "

Those responsible for Baby Peter's death are thought to be planning an appeal against their sentences.

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Hilda Barker's former neighbour David Cole on Steven Barker and Jason Owen: 'They used to wear Halloween masks to frighten her'



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