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Baby P killer called to inquest

One of the men responsible for causing the death of Baby P would be forced to give evidence at an inquest into his death, a coroner has said.

Steven Barker, the sadistic boyfriend of Peter Connelly's mother Tracey, remained silent while on trial for murder, a charge on which he was cleared, and also during a later trial where he was convicted of raping a two-year-old girl.

If an inquest goes ahead, Barker would finally have to answer questions about the toddler's final moments.

Peter was 17 months old when he died in Tottenham, north London, at the hands of Barker, his mother and Barker's brother, Jason Owen, in August 2007.

All three were subsequently jailed for causing or allowing his death. Barker was also convicted of the sex attack on the girl.

Peter had suffered more than 50 injuries despite receiving 60 visits from social workers, doctors and police over an eight-month period.

North London coroner Andrew Walker, presiding over a hearing to determine whether or not an inquest should go ahead, would have the power to compel Barker to give evidence.

He told the pre-inquest review in High Barnet he could do so as long as Barker was found to be a "competent" witness, and added: "It seems to me he would be required, as would any other witness, to answer questions from this court."

It was disclosed as the hearing took place that neither Barker nor Connelly would be granted legal aid for an inquest.

They had appealed against a decision not to grant them public funding, but that has now been rejected, the Legal Services Commission said.


From Belfast Telegraph