Baby P's father describes his anger and guilt at son's death

Mother says sorry and asks for forgiveness in letter to judge written from jail cell

The father of Baby P yesterday told for the first time how the death of his son destroyed his life as he battled with feelings of anger and guilt at the horrific abuse the child suffered.

The man, who cannot be named, told in heartbreaking detail the moment he was confronted with the sight of his dead son's body and said that his life became a "living nightmare". The man, who split from Baby Peter's mother when the child was five months old, explained how he was unable to work after the tragedy and said he turned to alcohol to "blot out the pain".

His revelations came in a victim impact statement read out at the Old Bailey yesterday as the judge heard submissions from legal teams ahead of the sentencing of the baby's killers today.

The boy's 27-year-old mother, her 32-year-old boyfriend and their lodger Jason Owen, 37, have been told to expect lengthy jail sentences after being convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child in November. The boyfriend will also be sentenced for the rape of a two-year-old girl for which he was found guilty earlier this month.

As well as the father's statement, a letter was also read to the court on behalf of the the mother of Peter. In the letter, hand-written from her cell in Holloway Prison, she says she will never forgive herself for her son's death and accepts she will be jailed.

The court was reminded of Peter's extensive catalogue of injuries. They were told that the boy, who was 17 months old when he died in August 2007, had part of his left ear missing, possibly caused by being hung by the ears. The tip of his tongue had been removed as had the tip of his right index finger, all of his fingernails and some of his toenails.

His back was broken – the court heard this was likely due to hyperextension from being stretched over a knee or a banister – as were seven of his ribs. His lower left incisor tooth was also missing, the court was told; the result of a fierce blow to his head the day before he died. The tooth was found in his stomach during the post mortem.

"My son must have suffered weeks if not months of pain, fear and loneliness with nobody to help or comfort him," said Peter's father. "No human being, and especially a child, deserves to suffer like Peter suffered in the last days and weeks of his life."

Peter's father's statement told of the last time he saw his son alive: "When I returned Peter to [his mother's] care I remember him screaming and shouting 'Daddy, daddy' so much so that [his mother] actually brought him back to me to say 'goodbye' again and give him a cuddle. I have to live now with the knowledge that Peter was actually screaming for me to help him. He did not want to go home because this was a place that he associated with pain and suffering."

And it told of the day he arrived at the hospital to learn his son was dead: "I saw his little, limp body just laying there, naked except for a nappy. I could not believe what was happening, I could not believe that was my son. He appeared to be asleep and I just wanted to pick him up and take him home. But, there was nothing I could [do] for him. This nightmare scene was real and all I could do was kiss him on his forehead and said 'goodbye'. My son was gone forever."

Peter's father said he comforted the boy's mother at the hospital as she blamed herself for what happened and apologised. He said that when she was arrested he reassured her that it was just procedure, not believing she could have abused their son. When the case came to trial, he said he felt compelled to attend court. "I owed that to Peter."

The statement ended: "Like all fathers I had imagined watching my son grow up, playing football with him, taking him to see Arsenal play, watching him open his Christmas and birthday presents and just develop as a person. All of that has been taken from me."

The judge, Stephen Kramer, also heard mitigation from each of the defendants' barristers. Paul Mendelle QC, for Peter's mother, said that his client was an "immature and uneducated woman", but not "a cruel mother".

He said she was not the main abuser – blaming her boyfriend. But added that she had suffered at the hands of her fellow prisoners. He said she was moved to solitary confinement for her own safety because of "the sanctimonious attitude of those who rob, steal, rape and kill, yet somehow regard themselves as morally superior to an inadequate mother who allowed herself to fall in love with the wrong man."

Bernard Richmond QC, on behalf of her boyfriend, said the man he represented had the lowest IQ of all the defendants and that, in taking on the role of Peter's guardian, he was "placed in a situation he was ill-equipped for". The barrister told the judge that, because of "difficulties" his client had suffered during his upbringing, "you may come to the view that the situation was a disaster waiting to happen".

Jason Owen's barrister, Timothy Roberts QC, said that his client had not taken part in the abuse and that his crime was "failing to report to the authorities the suspicions that he ought to have had as to how Peter was coming by his injuries".

Regrets: The mother's letter

Dear judge,

I am writing this as I am not sure of a better way to express my regret at failing my children. I except [ sic] I failed my son Peter, for which I pleaded guilty. By not being fully open with the social workers I stopped them from being able to do a full job. As a direct result of this my son got hurt and sadly lost his short life. I am never going to see my lovely son grow into the lovely sweet man I believe he would have been. I have lost all I hold dear to me. Now every day of my life is full of guilt and trying to come to terms with my failure as a mother.

I punish myself on a daily basis and there is not a day that goes by where I do not cry at some point. I have let down my family, my ex husband, myself and most importantly my darling son. Whilst I appreciate I am going to be given a custodial sentence I would like to say sorry. I can only hope and pray my family, my ex husband included, can one day forgive me for my mistakes. However I can never forgive myself for my shortcomings. I am truly sorry.

Yours sincerely,

Suggested Topics
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits