Back in 2007 the tragic case of ‘Baby P’, later named as 17-month-old Peter Connolly, was brought to the attention of the media.
17-month-old Peter was subject to months of abuse at the hands of his mother Tracey Connolly and her partner. Connolly was jailed in 2009 after admitting causing and/or allowing the death of her son in Tottenham, London.
During the investigation, it was discovered that Connolly, her partner Steven Barker and their lodger (Steven’s brother) had all contributed to the injuries suffered by Peter.
Peter was sadly found with over 50 injuries at the time of his death.
A review following the death of Peter found that there had been missed opportunities from social services and other professionals involved with his case.
Connolly was previously released on licence in 2013 but was shortly recalled to prison in 2015 for breach of her licence conditions. When her case was reviewed in 2019, the Parole Board refused her release, they also declined the option of moving her to an open prison.
On this occasion, the fourth time before the Parole Board, they have decided she is suitable for release.
The Parole Board report suggests Connolly has taken part in a ‘very intensive’ treatment programme developed by the Ministry of Justice and have deemed her at low risk of committing further offences.
If released Connelly would be subject to strict licence conditions which include living at a specified address, being supervised by probation, wearing an electronic tag, adhering to a curfew, and having to disclose her relationships.
When Connolly was last released in 2013, she breached her licence conditions by inciting one of the residents in her living accommodation to engage in inappropriate sexualised behaviour.
The Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has now stood up in the House of Commons and demanded the Parole Board reconsider their decision to release Connelly – the decision is awaited.
This is a stern message to those who have committed similar offences who are currently serving prison sentences with a possibility for parole.
Only this week, the mother of 3-year-old Kemarni Watson Darby was convicted of causing or allowing her son’s death at her West Bromwich flat, the same offence as Tracey Connolly. The mother’s partner was found guilty of murder of Kemarni.
The strict licence conditions placed on such individuals are there for a reason; to prevent further offending.
In the Connolly case, the first set of parole restrictions were clearly not strict enough. It is likely given the high-profile nature of this case it will be taken into consideration when other offender’s releases are being considered. It is also likely the terms of the individuals licence conditions will be scrutinised in more detail to consider the risk of re-offending.