Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Baby P stepdad may appeal

Lawyers representing Baby P’s ‘stepfather’ have confirmed they are considering an appeal against his conviction for raping a two-year-old girl.

Tim Bittlestone of Leslie Franks Solicitors said: “We will go through the process with this client as we do with every client.

“We presented his defence fearlessly as we are required to do so by the rules and now we will consider the possibilities with him as to any appeal, as we do with all defendants.”

Legal sources suggested any appeal could focus on the age of the victim, who was the prosecution’s main witness.

She was just four when she testified at the Old Bailey via videolink and questions have been raised about basing a prosecution on the evidence of such a young witness.

The defendant is facing a life sentence after his conviction for the rape on Friday.

Baby P’s mother denied a cruelty charge involving the same girl and was found not guilty by the jurors, who had no idea they were trying the couple in the Baby P case.

The 32-year-old’s victim, like Baby P, was on Haringey Council’s at risk register.

The defendant, who Baby P knew as ‘Dad’, was convicted with lodger Jason Owen (36) of causing or allowing Baby P’s death last November. Baby P’s mother (27) pleaded guilty to the same charge.

The child, whose first name was Peter, was found dead in his blood-spattered cot with a broken back and fractured ribs.

He had 50 injuries and died despite having had 60 contacts with health and social workers over the final eight months of his life.

His mother was arrested twice after injuries were spotted but she was not charged after hoodwinking officials.

Peter suffered months of ill-treatment culminating in his death after a punch in the mouth knocked one of his teeth down his throat.

The woman and her boyfriend cannot be named for legal reasons.

It emerged yesterday that Haringey Council should have known Peter’s mother had a new boyfriend more than four months before the toddler’s death.

Social workers from Haringey Council maintained they never suspected the mother was harbouring a violent boyfriend in the house.

But a Panorama investigation uncovered footage taken by the council in which the mother talks about a “very good friend” for whom she cooked a Valentine’s Day dinner.

In March 2007 she was filmed as the subject of an academic study two weeks after the mother’s estranged husband warned social workers that she had a new boyfriend, the BBC said.

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