Row over baby’s torture death in British parliament, mother remorseless

November 13th, 2008 - 1:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon BrownLondon, Nov 13 (IANS) The shocking story of a 17-month-old boy tortured to death by his guardians sparked a row in the House of Commons Thursday, with Prime Minister Gordon Brown alleging that the opposition was making it a political issue, while the baby’s jailed mother reportedly remained remorseless. The government came under fire from opposition Conservatives in parliament for allowing the child protection agency of Heringey borough of London - which failed to notice the signs of torture and take the boy into its care - to conduct an inquiry into its own shortcomings.

The terrible story caught the country’s attention after the London high court convicted the boy’s mother, her boyfriend and another man for causing or allowing the death of the infant, named Baby P.

He received as many as 50 injuries, including a broken back and missing finger, and finally died in August. What is now said to be the greater crime is the failure of the child protection officers to realise he was being tortured and take him into their care despite seeing the child 60 times. To top it all, no disciplinary action was taken against any of the officers.

This led to a war of words between Brown and opposition leader David Cameron. Amid hoots and sloganeering from both benches, the prime minister retorted that Cameron was making it a political issue and refused to withdraw the charge.

Children’s secretary Ed Balls said he was ordering another inquiry even though the initial inquiry by the concerned Heringey agency detected professional failures on part of the officers.

He was quoted in The Times as saying: “In the light of these findings, I have today decided that Ofsted, the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection and the Chief Inspector of Constabulary should carry out an urgent Joint Area Review of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in Haringey.”

Meanwhile, a police source told The Times that the mother, who cannot be named because of a legal order, had not shown any remorse: “None of them appear to be worried or sorry about what happened to the baby. They all feel very sorry for themselves but have not shown any remorse at all. The mother thinks she will be home in time for Christmas.”

The newspaper also learnt that Haringey Council, sharply criticised after the death of a minor girl, Victoria Climbie, in similar circumstances eight years ago, hampered the investigation into the death of Baby P by not handing over all their information to murder squad detectives until the case actually came to trial.

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