Byline: Arthur Martin
A SENIOR social worker described Baby P's mother as a 'lovely' parent and filmed an interview with her for staff training, a tribunal heard yesterday.
Sue Gilmore made the DVD of Tracey Connelly as grave concerns over the baby's welfare emerged, it was said.
During the filming she knew that Connelly had a new boyfriend called Steven Barker, who was to torture Baby Peter to death, but failed to inform her colleagues who were dealing with the case, it was alleged.
Instead, Mrs Gilmore, who has never been disciplined by her bosses at Haringey Council in North London, said Connelly was 'clearly committed' to her children, and that social workers 'would not have any trouble with the Connelly family', the tribunal heard.
The senior team manager was so impressed with the evil mother that she wanted her children taken off the child protection register, it was claimed.
And when Connelly was arrested over Baby P's death Mrs Gilmore allegedly sympathised with her plight and said the baby could have died of cot death.
Yesterday Baby P's social worker Maria Ward told an employment tribunal, where she and a colleague are claiming they were unfairly sacked by Haringey Council, that she was influenced by Mrs Gilmore's positive attitude towards Connelly.
'Mrs Gilmore was very favourably disposed towards Connelly and this influenced my conduct, and Haringey should take all this into account in their judgment of me,' she said.
'Mrs Gilmore was a strong team leader and was not someone to be challenged lightly. Her influence in the decisions taken in relation to Peter was considerable, as was her interest in the case.'
Mrs Ward, 40, told the Watford hearing that Mrs Gilmore recorded the interview with Connelly in March 2007, which was five months before Peter's death, as part of a new approach to social work called 'brief solution therapy'.
'This was a new approach which was developed first in the USA with an emphasis on encouraging parents to become aware of their limitations and to suggest goals and solutions themselves,' she said.
Mrs Ward said the DVD shows Mrs Gilmore asking Connelly: 'What does Maria have to do to show you we are not going to take your children away?'
She added: 'Connelly spoke at some length about a man who made her feel special and who she had a meal with on Valentine's Day.
'Had I been told about this I'm sure I would have become suspicious of Connelly's denial to me that she had a boyfriend.'
Mrs Ward said that after the DVD had been made Mrs Gilmore had written a note on Peter's case file which read: 'I gave her feedback saying she had been very open and honest about difficult things and said I was impressed that she had coped so well with so many difficulties.
'I also told her that she appeared to be totally committed to her children.'
Fresh details of the case emerged a week after Haringey's former head of social services, Sharon Shoesmith, called the outcry over the death of Baby P 'absurd'.
At an MPs' …