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.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Lots of people have been left scratching their heads after arguments made by pro and anti-Europe campaigners (Picture: London24 / Getty)

There has been no shortage of radio, television coverage and column inches devoted to the EU referendum on 23 June.

Monday, May 23, 2016
Mr Cameron and politicians from different political parties are campaigning to remain in the European Union ahead of the referendum on June 23. (Photo by Jack Taylor - Pool/Getty Images)

David Cameron made an early morning trip to a supermarket in Hayes yesterday along with Labour MP Harriet Harman.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Big Ben will stop ticking for months (Picture: Getty)

One of London’s best loved landmarks, Big Ben, is about to fall silent after hundreds of years bringing in the hour at Westminster - and you will be able to watch it not chiming every single second of every day.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Donald Trump and Sadiq Khan don't seem to be friends (Picture: PA Images / London24)

Donald Trump made an ominous-sounding statement as he continued his war of words with London Mayor Sadiq Khan on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Protestors marching on Holloway Prison to demand the prison site is replaced by council housing and community facilities (Picture: Ken Mears)

Jeremy Corbyn joined protesters for a march on Holloway Prison in protest at the government’s housing bill.

Monday, May 16, 2016
Commuters travelling on the District Line during a Tube stirke in 2014 (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Union leaders are calling for urgent talks with new London mayor Sadiq Khan to discuss issues they warn pose the biggest threat to transport services in the capital.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more
Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport