Baby P: The Untold Story makes for uncomfortable viewing
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The BBC documentary Baby P: The Untold Story, that aired last night, made for hard hitting and distressing viewing as a number of revelations arose surrounding the death of Peter Connelly at the tragically young age of 17 months.
When details of the case first emerged back in 2007 that Peter had more than 50 injuries which included a broken back the public were taken aback at the horrific nature of the death of an innocent infant. Peter's mother, her boyfriend and his brother were all convicted of torturing and murdering Baby Peter in a case that shook the entire nation to its' core.
The public became more and more enraged at the time when it was revealed that there were plenty of warning signs that social workers, Peter's doctors and even police officers missed. Peter had been classed as an "At Risk" child for a number of months due to his unfortunate living conditions. His mother's boyfriend was known to have raped a child while his brother a known drug addict who had also been accused of raping a child.
Last night's documentary focused on the fallout surrounding the case and exposed a blame culture that meant that dozens of lives were affected after the shocking nature of the case became public. Sharon Shoesmith, who was Director of Children’s Services at Haringey Council at the time, described how she received death threats against her and her daughter for her perceived failure of Baby P. She said "Peter was a victim of male child homicide, but you know we have all been victims in this."
Maria Ward, who was the social worker assigned to Peter at the time of his death, also spoke about the effects that the case had on her and her career. She said that she feared for her life after being removed from her position. Peter's doctor at the time, Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat, was fired after failing to notice Peter's broken back and returned to her home nation where she was admitted to a psychiatric ward because her mental health had suffered to such a serious extent. It later emerged that she was not fully qualified to carry out her role and Professor Jonathan Sibert said on the documentary "Dr Al-Zayyat should not have been in that job. It wasn't fair to her."