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Baby P social worker wins libel cases
3:00pm Tuesday 26th October 2010 in News
A SOCIAL worker has accepted compensation from three newspapers over untrue allegations about her role in the Baby P tragedy.
In three separate libel actions, Sylvia Henry, who is employed by the London Borough of Haringey as a social worker team manager, also received public apologies at the High Court.
Her solicitor James Heath told a judge in London that articles published in the Evening Standard and the Daily Mirror alleged she had been negligent in her dealings with Peter Connelly, which had contributed to his death.
An article in The Independent alleged, he said, that Ms Henry "was one of the social workers who had culpably failed to protect Peter from his guardians and thereby bore a share of the responsibility for his suffering and eventual harrowing death".
Mr Heath told Mr Justice Eady that the allegations were untrue and that Ms Henry "was not implicated in any way in the errors which led to Peter's death".
The publishers of the three newspapers had agreed to compensate her for the harm caused by the articles, he said. No figure was disclosed in court.
Mr Heath told the judge Peter Connolly was admitted to hospital in December 2006 with suspicious injuries and his case was referred to Haringey social services "where it was dealt with by, amongst others, Ms Henry".
He added: "She wanted Peter placed in professional care. In order to facilitate this she found a foster place for him. She made it clear that she did not agree with an alternative proposal that he be placed with a family friend. Regrettably, Ms Henry's view did not prevail."
In January 2007, Peter's position was reviewed: "Ms Henry remained concerned that he might be at risk if returned to the care of his mother, Tracey Connolly. She did not want this to happen until further assessments had been made. She therefore did her best to obtain the necessary authorisation for an application for a care order to be made which, if granted, would have prevented Peter from being returned to Tracey Connolly."
Mr Heath added: "However, despite her efforts, she was unable to obtain the necessary authorisation and a decision was made to return Peter to his family." From this time Ms Henry had no further involvement in the case.