Baby P boyfriend faces 'substantial sentence' for raping girl, 2

Charlotte Newton The boyfriend at the centre of the Baby P case was today convicted of raping a two-year-old girl who was on Haringey Council s child protection register. Baby P s mother was found not guilty of child cruelty. The verdict followed a two-we

Charlotte Newton

The boyfriend at the centre of the Baby P case was today convicted of raping a two-year-old girl who was on Haringey Council's child protection register.

Baby P's mother was found not guilty of child cruelty.

The verdict followed a two-week trial at the Old Bailey in which the 27-year-old mother of Baby P - who can now be referred to with his real name Peter - was on trial with her boyfriend for a second time.

Her 32-year-old boyfriend was found guilty of the rape of a child under 13 and faces a life sentence.

Judge Stephen Kramer warned the defendants that "in all likelihood they faced a substantial sentence".

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Although proceedings were held in open court, there was a blanket ban on reporting the case until the end to ensure the defendants received a fair trial.

Unbeknown to the jury, the defendants had been given false names to prevent the jury linking the cases.

Sally O'Neill QC, prosecuting, told the jury of eight men and four women that the girl was raped by the male defendant.

The principal evidence in the case was a video interview between two police officers and a child in which she described the alleged abuse.

After the video was shown in court the little girl was cross examined and was the youngest victim to ever be cross examined at the Old Bailey.

A foster carer, family therapist and child psychiatrist from great Ormond Street Hospital all testified in court that the little girl had told them she had been sexually abused by the male defendant.

Peter's mother denied the allegation of child cruelty and did not give evidence at the trial. She said "no comment" to each question in her police interviews.

A statement that her solicitor wrote on her behalf at the time of her arrest was read out in court.

Her boyfriend denied the allegation of rape against a child under 13. He chose not to take the witness stand. His statement after his arrest was read out in court. In it he claimed to have no idea why the child had made the allegations.

Peter was found dead in his blood-splattered cot in August 2007 after suffering months of horrific abuse at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and their lodger Jason Owen.

The case caused a national outcry when it emerged that the 17-month-old had been on the child protection register and had been seen 60 times by healthcare professionals, social workers and police.

His mother admitted causing or allowing his death while her boyfriend was found guilty along with their lodger for causing or allowing his death during a trial in November last year.

Owen and Peter's mother will be sentenced on the same day. Her boyfriend will be sentenced on May 22.

High Court orders in place prevent the Ham&High from identifying Peter's mother and her boyfriend while the rape victim has been given lifetime anonymity.

Speaking after the verdicts, Det Chief Insp Graham Grant said: "There is no doubt that Peter and this young girl suffered terribly at the hands of these people.

"There are many lies to conceal the violent treatment of Peter and the sexual abuse of a toddler.

"It is telling that this man denied rape and in doing so forced a very young girl and vulnerable child to endure a daunting criminal trial the Old Bailey.

"It is also humbling to be involved in a case which relied on the testimony on such a young and violated child.

"Her resilience is extraordinary and I sincerely hope that with the continued support of professionals and her family, she will be able to live a happy and fulfilled life.

This case has shocked everyone to the core and I urge anyone who is concerned about the welfare or safety of a child to contact the police or local authority and report the matter immediately."

Claire Kober, Leader of Haringey Council, said: "We have accepted that things went badly wrong with our child protection in 2007. We live every day with the knowledge that more could have been done and apologise again for everyone affected.

"We are committed to putting things right.

"Social workers have been dismissed. The then director of children’s services, the assisitant director and a service manager have also been dismissed. Staff must be accounted for for the service that they manage and the duties they perform.

All the agencies in Haringey responsible for child protection are now implementing an action plan to improve children’s services.

We are making sure our social workers get the basics right with new managers new procedures to support staff and new training."