Tracey Connelly, the mother of Baby P, is at “very high” risk of being targeted and attacked by vigilantes when she is released from prison, criminal justice experts have warned.
The warnings came as death threats started to circulate on Twitter - some with a #LynchTraceyConnelly hashtag.
Despite public anger at her crime – allowing boyfriend Steven Barker and his paedophile brother Jason Owen to torture her 17 month year old son Peter to death - she has not been given official anonymity.
Fear of revenge attacks has seen a handful of notorious criminals including Jon Venables and Maxine Carr granted lifetime anonymity orders banning the public and press from revealing their new identities.
But Connelly will not receive same protection, despite more than 132,000 people joining ‘hate groups’ on social networking internet sites calling for her, Barker and Owen to ‘burn in hell’. She will have to make her own arrangements to change her name and appearance.
“The risk to her from the people who signed the ‘rot in hell’ petition for example will be very, very high,” criminal justice expert Harry Fletcher said last night. “No matter how heinous the crime probation and the police have a duty to keep people safe,” he added.
News of Connelly’s release was confirmed today. She was jailed indefinitely with a minimum of five years in May 2009 for causing or allowing her son’s death. But after a second review of her case, the Parole Board said: “We can confirm that a three-member panel of the board has directed the release of Tracey Connelly.” The date of her release will be confirmed by the Ministry of Justice.
Mr Fletcher, formerly of Napo, the probation officers union, said: “She will receive strong guidance over the next couple of months on how to keep her identity secure. The more who know where she is and what she’s calling herself the greater at risk she will be, so that will all be kept to a minimum.”
Baby Peter was found dead in his blood-spattered cot at his mother’s flat in August 2007. He had suffered 50 separate injuries, including a broken back. Barker was sentenced to 12 years for his “major role” in Peter’s death. Owen was jailed indefinitely but successfully appealed to lower it to a six-year sentence. He was freed in August 2011 but recalled to prison again in April this year.
Connelly, understood to be detained at Low Newton jail near Durham, will remain on licence for the rest of her life and if she breaches any of the conditions, faces being returned to jail.