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Anger over 'silence' in Baby P death case; Residents' fury as councillors refuse to talk.

Byline: Tom Rayner

MEMBERS of Haringey Council's Labour group maintained a wall of silence last night after attending an emergency meeting to discuss fresh developments in the tragic case of Baby P.

The councillors present at the meeting did not want to talk about what had been discussed and left the building by a rear door down an overgrown back alley.

However, the wall of silence angered locals who believed councillors were "covering up" the events that led to Baby P's death to "save their own necks".

One resident, Stephanie Biber, was so enraged she marched to the Hornsey and Wood Green Labour Party head offices and stuck a poster to the front window that read: "Sharon Shoesmith you have blood on your hands. Council taxpayers of Haringey refuse to pay council tax until Sharon Shoesmith is sacked."

Sharon Shoesmith is head of children's services at the council.

Mrs Biber said: "Sharon Shoesmith should resign, this is the final straw and I'm just so angry about it all."

Another taxpayer, Con Saunders, 61, said: "I've lived here nearly all my life and I've never known anything like this, it's a disgrace. And it's not the first time this has happened.

"They're just covering up the events to save their own necks."

Later, a spokesman for Haringey's Labour group said: "The purpose of the meeting was solely to ensure councillors were fully informed on all aspects of the case and the review commissioned by central government."

According to a Sunday newspaper, the council's legal department advised that the child did not need to be taken into care just nine days before he died.

The blond, blue-eyed toddler died in a blood-spattered cot on August 3, having suffered more than 50 injuries despite 60 visits from the authorities over eight months.

An inquiry is currently under way into child welfare services in the north London borough.

Last week, the mother's 32-year-old boyfriend and another man, Jason Owen, 36, were convicted at the Old Bailey of causing or allowing his death.

Baby P's 27-year-old mother had already pleaded guilty to the same charge. All three have been warned they will receive lengthy jail terms when they are sentenced next month.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 17, 2008
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