Baby P’s mother to remain in jail after losing Parole Board appeal
The mother of Baby P, who died after months of abuse, will remain behind bars after losing an appeal against a Parole Board decision not to release her.
Tracey Connelly, 38, was jailed at the Old Bailey in 2009 for causing or allowing the death of her 17-month-old son Peter at their home in Tottenham, north London, on August 3 2007.
Known publicly as Baby P, he had suffered more than 50 injuries – despite being on the at-risk register and receiving 60 visits from social workers, police and health professionals over eight months.
Connelly admitted the offence and was handed a sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) with a minimum term of five years.
She was let out on licence in 2013 but was recalled to prison in 2015 for breaching her parole conditions by “developing intimate personal relationships” online and inciting another resident at her accommodation to engage in “inappropriate sexualised behaviour”.
The Parole Board considered her case for a third time in November last year, following previous reviews in 2015 and 2017, and refused to either release her or move her to an open prison.
The evidence before the panel was that, despite being advised to keep a “low profile” when released on licence, she had dyed her hair pink within a few weeks of being freed.
She also visited a beautician for false fingernails, which attracted media publicity, and was told for a second time to behave appropriately.
However, within two weeks of that advice, she had her tongue pierced – which she said she had done “on impulse”.
Psychological assessments of her concluded that she had “a tendency to indulge in attention-seeking behaviour which was closely associated with a strong sense of entitlement”.
Announcing its decision in December, the review panel rejected a plan for release proposed by Connelly’s probation officer, concluding it was “not robust enough” to manage her in the community.
Connelly challenged the decision and asked for it to be reconsidered on the grounds it was irrational and unfair.
Her solicitor argued the panel was wrong to find the plan for her release was not certain enough, as it could not be more certain until after she was freed.
It was also argued that the panel made an error when it concluded that, given the likelihood of publicity, her decision to visit the beautician showed a “lack of insight” into the potential risks to her and her place of residence.
However, rejecting her challenge, Parole Board member James Orrell said the panel was entitled to reach the conclusions it did.
In a written decision published on Thursday, he said panel’s main concern was Connelly’s “chronic and highly sophisticated capacity to deceive and mislead professionals” and that she had only recently become more honest and open – an improvement which would need to be tested before she could be released again.
He also said the panel was entitled to find the plan for her release was “largely undeveloped” and to rely on that as a significant factor in its decision not to free her.
It is not yet known when Connelly will next be eligible for a review of her case.
She was jailed with her boyfriend Steven Barker and his brother Jason Owen, who were convicted at trial of the same offence.
A series of reviews identified missed opportunities when officials could have saved the toddler’s life if they had acted properly on the warning signs.