Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Baby P's mother freed from prison

Tracey Connelly was jailed indefinitely with a minimum of five years in May 2009 for causing or allowing her son Peter's death
Tracey Connelly was jailed indefinitely with a minimum of five years in May 2009 for causing or allowing her son Peter's death

Tracey Connelly - the mother of Baby P - has been released from prison.

Connelly is understood to have been released on Tuesday - the same day it was revealed that former child protection boss Sharon Shoesmith will r eceive a payout of up to £600,000 over her unfair dismissal following the tragedy.

Connelly, who was jailed indefinitely with a minimum of five years in May 2009 for causing or allowing her son Peter's death, went free after the Parole Board recommended her release on licence following a second review of her case.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: "Offenders on licence are subject to a strict set of conditions and controls.

"Examples include curfews, restrictions on their movements and frequent meetings with their offender manager. If an offender breaches their licence conditions, they can be recalled to custody."

Ms Shoesmith was fired from her £133,000-a-year job by Haringey Council without compensation in December 2008 after a report from regulator Ofsted exposed that her department failed to protect 17-month-old Peter - then known publicly as Baby P.

Her lawyers argued that she was the victim of ''a flagrant breach of natural justice'' fuelled by a media witch-hunt.

In May 2011, the Appeal Court concluded she was unfairly sacked because former Labour children's secretary Ed Balls and Haringey did not give her a proper chance to put her case before her removal.

The Department for Education and Haringey sought permission to attempt to overturn the ruling in the Supreme Court, but judges rejected the applications, clearing the way for her to receive compensation.

A Haringey Council spokeswoman confirmed that a settlement had been reached but the terms of the agreement were confidential.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles accused Haringey of "bankrolling a state-sponsored cover-up".

And Mr Balls said the payout would "appall people across the country".

The Parole Board confirmed recently that a three-member panel had directed Connelly's release.

It said then: ''Tracey Connelly first became eligible for parole in August 2012, and at that time a Parole Board panel made no recommendation to release.

''This is the second parole review for Tracey Connelly. The decision to release is a matter for the board, which is independent - arrangements and the date of the release are a matter for the Secretary of State.''

Baby P died on August 3 2007 with more than 50 injuries, despite being on the at-risk register and receiving 60 visits from social workers, police and health professionals over eight months.

Connelly admitted the offence soon after being charged and served several hundred days on remand.

She has been held at Low Newton jail near Durham, it is believed.

Connelly was given a so-called imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentence, which carries a minimum term.

An IPP sentence prisoner is eligible to be considered for release by the Parole Board when the minimum term is served.

When making its decision, the Parole Board will take into account the nature of the offence, the prisoner's offending history, the prisoner's progress in prison and any statements made on behalf of the victim.

Reports from psychologists, probation officers and prison officers are also taken into account.

Her son died at his home in Tottenham, north London, a day after police told Connelly she would not be prosecuted over abuse of the 17-month-old.

Connelly was jailed with her boyfriend Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen, who were convicted at trial of the same offence.

Barker was jailed for life with a minimum of 10 years for raping a two-year-old girl and given a 12-year term to run concurrently for his ''major role'' in Peter's death.

Owen was jailed indefinitely with a minimum three-year term but later won an appeal to lower it to a fixed six-year term.

He was freed in August 2011 but was then recalled to prison in April this year.

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