The Sun apologises to ‘Baby P’ social worker

Sylvia Henry wrongly targeted by The Sun

The Sun has today apologised to Sylvia Henry, a Haringey social worker wrongly targeted by The Sun in its “Justice for Baby P campaign”.

In November 2006, following the convictions of Baby P’s mother, Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend, Steven Barker and his brother, Jason Owen, for causing Peter’s death, The Sun launched its campaign. This called for the immediate sacking and barring from any future work with children of those at Haringey social services it alleged were responsible for Peter Connelly’s appalling death. This was coupled with a petition in the newspaper and on its website that readers were asked to sign and submit. The petition would ultimately recruit 1.6 million signatures.

Sylvia Henry was one of those named by The Sun in the newspaper and online in a very large number of articles, as well as in the petition, covering a period of over four months. The Sun accused her of gross negligence in the case, of showing no remorse, of ducking responsibility for Peter’s death and of being a lazy social worker who had an uncaring disregard for the safety of children. The Sun also accused Ms Henry of lying to the Inquiry by Lord Laming into the death of Victoria Climbie.

The trial of Ms Henry’s libel claim was due to start on 13 June but has settled with apologies to Ms Henry by a statement in court and in The Sun newspaper and website.

In Court today, The Sun accepted unreservedly that there had been no justification for any of its allegations against her and that she had done her very best for Peter and particularly that she made repeated efforts to have him kept safe by being placed in foster care rather than being returned to the care of his mother. The Court heard that The Sun would also be compensating Ms Henry and paying her legal costs.

Sylvia Henry was represented by 5RB’s Adrienne Page QC, instructed by Taylor Hampton Solicitors and  5RB’s Mark Warby QC and 5RB’s Adam Wolanski for News Group Newspapers Limited, instructed by Farrer & Co.