Baby P council boss contemplated suicide after scandal

10:51 06 January 2013

Sharon Shoesmith is still out of a job. File picture: PA Wire

Sharon Shoesmith is still out of a job. File picture: PA Wire

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The council officer in charge of Haringey’s childrens services at the time of the Baby P scandal has revealed she is living on benefits and is struggling to find work.

Sharon Shoesmith, whose sacking was ordered by former children’s minister Ed Balls, has also admitted she considered suicide and sought counselling over the saga in 2007.

Baby Peter Connelly died aged 17 months after sustaining dozens of injuries caused by his mother Sharon Connelly, her partner Steven Barker, and their lodger Jason Owen.

He died despite being on Haringey’s child protection register and the family receiving numerous visits from the council’s social workers.

In an interview with the Public Servant trade magazine, Ms Shoesmith said she hit rock bottom when she saw a picture of herself juxtaposed with a picture of Peter’s blood stained clothes.

She said: “I was certainly no softy, but being held directly responsible for the brutal murder of a child was something that I found impossible to live with.

“I remember turning to my two daughters in tears and asking them, “Did I murder him?” I was in such a state that I actually believed I had killed him.”

She is still fighting for compensation after she won an unfair dismissal appeal against her sacking.

In the interview in the magazine’s January edition, she also says she now avoids public places for fear of being recognised.

“People used to know ask me what I’m doing now, and they’re shocked when I say “nothing”,’

“They can’t quite grasp that my life hasn’t moved on at all in the last four years, that I can’t find any work and I’m living on benefits.

“I used to have a £130,000-a-year job running my own department and was a national reference point for Ofsted for special educational needs, but no organisation will take the risk of employing me because of who I am.”

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