Baby P abuser Jason Owen wins appeal against sentence

Jason Owen, one of three people convicted over the death of Baby P, is likely to be freed from prison in just three years after winning an appeal against an indeterminate sentence.
In May, Owen, 37, was given the indeterminate sentence at the Old Bailey with a minimum term of three years after being found guilty of causing or allowing the death of the 17-month-old infant, later identified as Peter Connelly.

But on Tuesday three Court of Appeal judges overturned the sentence, ruling that there was no clear case of significant risk of Owen committing serious harm in the future.

It means that Owen is likely to be released in just three years if he maintains good behaviour in prison, as the minimum offenders must serve in custody is half of the sentence. He would face a Parole Board hearing which would decide upon his release.

Lord Justice Hughes, quashing the indeterminate sentence, said: “His present offence is deeply unpleasant because a completely innocent child who he could have protected was not protected by him against harm by others.

“He displays a willingness to deceive …which is unattractive, but to translate that into a significant risk that he will himself in the future commit offences involving death or serious personal injury to the public is … simply a step too far.”

Lord Justice Hughes said the important issue was “whether there was a demonstrated risk of future death or serious injury at his hands” – that is what had to be shown to justify the imposition of an indeterminate sentence, which was “akin to a life sentence”.

Owen, of Bromley, Kent, was jailed along with Baby P’s mother Tracey Connelly, 28, of Penshurst Road, Tottenham, north London, and her boyfriend Steven Barker, 33, for causing or allowing the death of the child.

On Monday Connelly, of north London, dropped her appeal against her sentence that she must serve at least five years in custody.

Barker, who is Owen’s brother, was sentenced to serve at least 12 years.

When Peter Connelly died in August 2007 he had been subject to horrendous abuse.

He had more than 50 injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken back.

The case provoked a massive public outcry, due not only to the cruelty of those involved but also the failings of Haringey council’s social services department to intervene.

Barker and Connelly could be given new identities when they are released from prison, at a high cost to the taxpayer.