Thursday 8 December 2016

A boy whose bruises were covered with chocolate

Baby Peter's death shows how even a decent society can fail the vulnerable, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

Published 16/08/2009 | 00:00

Baby P
Baby P

THE tide of human suffering brought about by the failure to protect children respects no national boundaries. And the outpouring of anger that such a failure can bring about is not a monopoly of an Ireland still coming to terms with revelations of institutional abuse of children by religious orders.

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Nor is a sense of hopelessness when confronted with such depravity. And so I hate writing this article, not just because it causes me to focus on the torture and murder of a small child, but because the more I read or have conversations about this case, the more hopeless I feel. England is as decent a society as you can get -- its politicians and social workers and charities try to do the right thing -- but it persistently fails vulnerable children.

Here's the story. Peter Connelly's mother, Tracey, was born in 1981 to an Irish immigrant, Mary O'Connor, allegedly drug-taking and promiscuous. As a mother she was so neglectful that her ragged and dirty daughter was known at school as 'Tracey the Tramp'.

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