Social workers thought Baby P's mother 'just needed support'

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The Independent Online

Social workers believed Baby P's mother was a "caring but inadequate" parent who just needed support, an employment tribunal heard today.

Staff at Haringey Council in north London wrongly concluded that the toddler's injuries were probably caused by lack of supervision and so used "wholly inappropriate" methods in his case, the hearing was told.



Baby P, now named as Peter Connelly, was just 17 months old when he died in a blood-spattered cot in Tottenham, north London, on August 3 2007.



His mother, Tracey Connelly, was one of three people jailed in May last year for causing or allowing the little boy's death.



Giving evidence today, Gillie Christou, one of Peter's social workers, claimed she and colleague Maria Ward were unfairly sacked by the council over the case "to appease the tabloid press and politicians".



She said in a witness statement: "Haringey were wrong to make us scapegoats and to add our names to the list of Tracey Connelly's victims."



Mrs Christou, 52, criticised key decisions about Peter's care taken by other social workers before she became involved in the case.



One of these was to accept that the most likely cause of injuries found on his body was "lack of supervision and control".



Mrs Christou noted: "Consequently the role of social services was to provide assistance and support to Tracey Connelly as a caring but inadequate parent."



The sacked social worker told the employment tribunal in Watford, Hertfordshire, that her colleagues used the "family support model" to aid Peter's mother - and even used her as a case study.



She said: "Sue Gilmore, the senior team manager and my line manager, was very enthusiastic about this approach.



"She actually conducted an in-depth interview with Tracey Connelly in March 2007 as part of a course she was undertaking on the family support model.



"In hindsight this was a wholly inappropriate way to deal with child protection cases."

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