Baby P killers segregated in prison for their safety

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The Independent Online

The killers of Baby P were yesterday put into segregated prison wings for their own safety after their identities were made public.

The names and photographs of Tracey Connelly and her boyfriend Steven Barker were revealed by the media yesterday after a High Court order preventing their details being published expired.

Now, The Independent understands that the pair have been moved away from other prisoners to minimise the possibility that they will be attacked by fellow inmates. Barker, 33, resides at HMP Wakefield – home to some of Britain's most dangerous prisoners – while Connelly, 28, is believed to have recently been moved to Low Newton prison in Co Durham.

She was in Holloway women's prison in north London, which housed Myra Hindley and Maxine Carr, but is said to have been moved ahead of her identity becoming public knowledge.

Harry Fletcher, the assistant general-secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers (Napo), said: "The first thing that would have happened this morning, the priority for the prison service, would have been to make sure that these two were put in segregation so that they could not be attacked by other prisoners. That would have been automatic.

"They were possibly on the wings, surrounded by other prisoners before, but now, with their pictures all over the papers, it is just not safe. They would have been moved to a vulnerable prisoners' wing."

While on remand in Belmarsh, during his second trial for rape, Barker was also segregated. His barrister told the court that he was being held in the same unit that had housed Ian Huntley.

It was also suggested yesterday that all three of the child's killers, including Barker's brother Jason Owen, 37, could be given new identities and round the clock protection if they were released from prison.

Barker is serving a 12-year sentence for his part in the death of Peter Connelly, his girlfriend's son, who was known in court proceedings as Baby P. That sentence is running concurrently with a life sentence for the rape of a two-year-old girl. He will be eligible for parole in eight years.

Connelly is serving an indeterminate sentence of 10 years. She could be released in three years if she convinces the parole board she is no danger to children. Owen is serving an indeterminate three-year sentence. He will be eligible for parole in two years.

But, due to fears of vigilante attacks, they may get new names. It would be similar to the anonymity enjoyed by criminals such as Maxine Carr, Mary Bell and James Bulger's murderers, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.

Mr Fletcher said: "People aren't going to forget the Baby P case. If they are released, the probation service and police will have no choice but to put in place a protection plan."