Sacked Head Of Council Children’s Services Receives Death Threats

Police are investigating death threats sent to Sharon Shoesmith’s home that warned the former director of children’s services at Haringey that one of her two daughters would be killed.

The threats have been accompanied by hate mail and abusive emails suggesting she should kill herself. Shoesmith’s mother, 88, and former mother-in-law, 80, have also been pursued by reporters asking what they think about her being responsible for the death of a baby.

A threat, warning that her daughter would be killed, was sent to Shoesmith’s home address in London. The typrewritten letter, containing a photo of Shoesmith taken from the Sun, with the words “a Christmas box – your daughter will be in” attached, is one of many items of hate mail she has received. As a result, the police have reinforced her doors and windows and offered her protection. Her daughters, both grown up, live in London.

Shoesmith became the main target for sections of the media last month following the conviction of Baby’s P mother, boyfriend and Jason Owen for causing the child’s death. Much of the material directed towards her has been more personal than that aimed at the three found guilty.

At the end of the trial, Shoesmith’s mother was traced to her home and told her daughter had been involved in the death of a child. She phoned Shoesmith in a distressed state, unaware of what the reporters were talking about.

Her former mother-in-law was also upset when it was reported in a number of papers that Shoesmith’s in-laws found her “ice-cold” and wanted her to resign. One report said: “A woman, who asked to remain anonymous but spoke for the family, said: ‘She should have done the decent thing by now’.” Shoesmith has received emails entitled 100 Ways to Commit Suicide and ecards with pictures of Baby P containing messages such as “forever on your conscience”.

Friends said she had already agreed with the council that she would leave her job and was shocked to see Ed Balls announce that he was, effectively, sacking her. There have been no discussions about her severance pay. Shoesmith received support last month from the headteachers of 68 Haringey schools, who described her as “an outstanding public servant”.