Baby P’s mum lies about abuse on unseen video

The mother of abused toddler Baby P wished social services would “back off and leave her alone”, an interview filmed four months before he died has revealed.

Tracey Connelly was interviewed as part of a course being taken by Sue Gilmore from Haringey Council and the footage will be shown for the first time tonight.

In the hour-long video, Ms Gilmore thanks Connelly for being “completely honest” and appears to readily accept her explanation that the child “banged his chin” when he “caught himself on the table”.

The 17-month-old boy, now named as Peter Connelly, died at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend Steven Barker and Barker’s brother Jason Owen in August 2007.

All three were jailed for causing or allowing his death.

Peter received more than 50 injuries despite receiving 60 visits from social workers, doctors and police at his home in Tottenham, north London, during an eight-month period.

Ms Gilmore recorded the video in March 2007 as part of a course she was doing in “brief solution therapy” – a new social work method based on encouraging parents to make positive changes in their lives.

At the time, Peter was on the at-risk register and Connelly, 29, was covering up the horrific abuse being inflicted on her son.

The BBC Panorama programme will show Connelly telling the social worker: “So that’s why when we are at a friend’s house, Peter fell and banged his chin and he got cut there and there and a graze when he caught himself on the table.

“But my instant reaction, well after initially petting him, was to take photos of the table so that I can show the social services well I think is what happened.

“Because I was scared that, if there was no evidence, they were going to say that I done it.”

Connelly adds: “I know that the social worker is there for a job, and I know they are there for a purpose and, at the end of all this, I hope they will back off and leave me alone so that I am a caring mother. Does that make sense?”

Ms Gilmore replies: “That’s a fairly straightforward thing to want.”

Connelly also talked about her “friend” Steven and their special Valentine night together.

She says: “He is 6ft 4in, blond hair, green eyes and I am sorry if I’ve built up a dream boat on him, but he is every girl’s dream.”

Barker moved into her home in November 2006, although his presence was kept from police and social workers.

Connelly was arrested the following month when bruises were spotted on the boy’s face and he was placed on the child protection register.

At the end of the interview, Ms Gilmore thanks her for being “really open, completely honest”.

Pointing at the camera, Ms Gilmore adds: “I’m impressed, really, really impressed with the way you have been able to come in here, sit in front of that.”

Graham Badman, who led the second serious case review, told Panorama the interview reflected the misplaced optimism that seemed to underpin the way the case was handled.