Baby P: The official files
Tuesday 18 November 2008
Detailed documents chronicling every tragic moment in the short and horrific life of Baby P can be revealed for the first time today.
The comprehensive file gives a hitherto-unseen insight into the transformation of the 17-month-old toddler from a healthy infant into the victim of systematic and horrific abuse which was repeatedly missed by social workers. They chart every significant day in the youngster's life from birth to death.
Beginning at his birth on 1 March 2006, the document tells of his first innocent trips to the doctor to be weighed and treated for nappy rash. But within seven months the reasons for the visits had become more sinister.
His first non-routine trip to a doctor came on 13 October 2006 when he visited his GP, Dr Jerome Ikwueke, with bruises to his head and chest after what the document calls an accidental fall downstairs.
Two months later, on 11 December, he visits Dr Ikwueke, this time with bruising to his forehead, nose, sternum and right shoulder. On the same day he is seen by specialists at the Whittington Hospital, north London.
The following day he is examined again and referred to a child abuse investigation team. The police investigation began on 15 December. On 19 December, the boy's 27-year-old mother, who was last week convicted of causing or allowing her son to die, is arrested for the first time. She is freed on bail.
When the boy is discharged from hospital he is released into the care of Angela Godfrey, a family friend. Heartbreakingly, Baby P's only Christmas was spent with Ms Godfrey and not at home with his mother and siblings.
Also revealed in the early part of the documents are two separate trips Baby P's mother made to a doctor. On 9 June 2006 – three months after her son was born – she visits a doctor for depression. A month later she sees the same doctor to discuss relationship problems she had with the child's natural father. The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, left Baby P's mother when he discovered her infidelity, but stayed in contact with his son.
In January 2007, the child returns to the hospital for X-rays on his legs and nappy rash. Meanwhile, his mother is examined by a mental health worker.
On 2 February, a Haringey Council social worker, Maria Ward, is appointed to the family. She visited Baby P at home for the first time on 22 February. She made 10 visits to his home in the six months she was their social worker, eight scheduled, two unannounced.
Meanwhile, another social worker said yesterday that she and police officers had raised concerns about Baby P being returned to his mother early in 2007. Sylvia Henry, a team manager at the Tottenham social work office, arranged a foster care place for the toddler but claimed she was overruled by a manager, who insisted that he be placed with Angela Godfrey.
However, Haringey Council has denied this. A statement released yesterday said: "That meeting agreed a plan for his return home and this was agreed with the police."
In April the child was taken to North Middlesex Hospital's A&E unit with bruising to his face and swelling to his head. The document notes that the mother claims the injuries were caused by another child who pushed Baby P into a fireplace four days earlier. It says that Baby P was unsteady on his feet and holding his head to one side.
The following day, on 10 April 2007, the child is referred to a child development centre after his mother and social worker apparently became concerned that he likes to bang his head against things. On 11 April he is discharged from hospital and sent home.
A month later the child's mother is interviewed by police under caution, relating to her arrest for assault on Baby P on 19 December. Three days later the police visit the family home, in Tottenham, north London, and take photographs of the child and the furniture and seize one of Baby P's toys.
Between 12 and 26 June, Baby P is looked after by Anne Walker, a childminder. Earlier this week she claimed she warned social services about the child's injuries, but says her warnings went unheeded. She said: "He was dying. I told them about his state. I said things were not right. But nothing was done. If someone had taken action we would not be mourning the loss of a baby's life. The warning signs were all there."
In July 2007, the month before Baby P's death, his mother takes him to the hospital twice to have him checked for an ear infection and an allergic reaction caused by red Leicester cheese.
Three days before he died, Baby P's mother sees her GP to complain she is stressed by accusations she has hurt her child. A day later she was told that she would not be charged over allegations she had assaulted her son. It was on or around these days that Baby P sustained his fatal injuries.
On 1 August 2007, Dr Sabah Al Zayyat examined Baby P at St Ann's Hospital in Tottenham. It was the last time that any medical professional had a chance to save the child. However Dr Zayyat failed to notice that the child had broken ribs and a broken back. Instead she notes that he is "quite miserable" and crying. She adds that it was not possible to make a full examination.
The document ends with 14 entries detailing Baby P's death. A 999 call was made at 11.36am on 3 August. Four minutes later, the ambulance arrived at the house. Half an hour later the child was declared dead at hospital and police were called. At 1.45pm Baby P's mother was arrested.
'Hit squad' to be sent to Haringey
*An emergency "hit squad" is about to be ordered into Haringey Council to take over the running of its troubled social services department, Nigel Morris writes.
Ed Balls, the Children's Secretary, is preparing to act within a fortnight. Ministers hope the move will force the council to suspend senior staff, including its director of children's services, Sharon Shoesmith. Mr Balls told MPs he would "not hesitate" to act on the findings of an inquiry into the mistakes made in the case of Baby P.
The Government also plans to give extra powers to "children's trusts", which aim to protect youngsters. And Mr Balls announced details of a review by Lord Laming into child protection procedures.
Who's who in the documents
Dr Jerome Ikwueke
The GP who saw Baby P in the first untroubled months of his life and later spotted the injuries which raised suspicions that he was being abused in December 2006. He referred Baby P to specialists at the Whittington Hospital in north London.
Dr Heather Mackinnon
The consultant paediatrician at the Whittington who examined Baby P and was so concerned at his injuries that she contacted Haringey social services. She expressed concern at the suggestion he should be returned to his mother.
The family friend who was given care of Baby P in December 2006 after he was released from hospital. She pressed for the infant to be returned to his mother.
The social worker appointed to Baby P's case in February 2007. She made 10 visits to the family home, the last occurring four days before his death. She declared herself content with the protection plan for the toddler.
A health visitor who first visited Baby P's home in March 2007. She saw him only four times before his death after his mother cancelled appointments. Thomas reported no problems at his one-year development check.
Dr Sabah al Zayyat
The paediatrician who was the last doctor to see Baby P alive. She failed to spot his broken back or ribs and claimed he was moving his legs when she examined him two days before his death. She is the only individual who has faced censure for her conduct by being banned from working with children unsupervised.
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