Steven Barker: ‘Stepfather’ jailed for abusing Baby P denied parole.
The “stepfather” of Baby P, who was jailed for a campaign of abuse against the little boy, has been refused parole.
Steven Barker was handed a life sentence with a minimum of 10 years for raping a two-year-old girl and given a 12-year term to run concurrently for his “major role” in the death of baby Peter Connelly.
Peter, first known as Baby P in a case that shocked the nation, died in north London in August 2007 with more than 50 injuries.
He had suffered a catalogue of injuries despite being on the at-risk register and receiving 60 visits from social workers, police and health professionals over the final eight months of his life.
The 17-month-old’s death came at the hands of his mother, Tracey Connelly, her lover Barker and their lodger, Jason Owen.
A series of reviews identified missed opportunities when officials could have saved the toddler’s life if they had acted properly on the warning signs.
A spokesman for the Parole Board said: “We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board has not directed the release of Steven Barker at a paper hearing.
“Under current legislation Mr Barker will be eligible for a further review within two years. The date of the next review will be set by the Ministry of Justice.
“The Parole Board is unable to comment on the specifics of individual cases.”
“Fascinated with pain” and described by police as a sadist, Steven Barker took pleasure in “toughening up” Baby Peter.
The 33-year-old, who was devoted to his rottweiler Kaiser, treated the toddler like an animal, teaching him to obey commands on how to sit, lie down, and if not, face the consequences.
He took pleasure in regularly using the child as a punchbag and was said to have forced the boy to perform “Seig Heil” salutes as part of his fixation with the Nazis.
At 6ft 4ins and 18 stone, he was obsessed with knives, martial arts weapons and kept a cross-bow as well as collection of Swastika memorabilia. He used to stride around his home in combat gear.
Barker, who has an IQ of just 60 and has been described as “simple”, was bullied as a youngster by his older brother and co-accused Jason Owen and in turn, turned abuser.
Born in June 1976 and brought up in London, Barker went to a special school in Tottenham, north London, but still emerged unable to read or write.
He was the second eldest of five siblings, three boys and two girls.
As a child he enjoyed hurting animals and tortured guinea pigs and frogs – skinning the latter before breaking their legs. He kept two pet snakes at Tracey Connelly’s home and fed them dead chicks, mice and rabbits.
His fascination with causing pain to animals saw him prosecuted for that very obsession by the RSPCA.
Barker, who had a child with another woman before he met Connelly through his work as a handyman, had no previous convictions before Peter’s death.
However, he was known to police after being arrested in the mid 1990s on suspicion of torturing his dying grandmother to get her to change her will.
Both he and Owen were initially charged with assaulting Hilda Barker, 82, at her home in Whitstable, Kent in 1995.
She told police the pair had locked her in a wardrobe to force her change her will in their favour and allegedly beat her until she was badly bruised.
They also were said to have dressed up in Guy Fawkes masks to scare her.
Mrs Barker was so shaken by her experience that she was moved to a care home where she died from pneumonia in January 1996.
Barker and Owen were arrested and charged but the case was dropped after the frail woman’s death due to a lack of admissible evidence.
Although he had no convictions before the trial into Peter’s death, he was found guilty of raping a two-year-old girl in May this year.
His sister Susan, 34, told jurors that he was shy and easily dominated, especially by his brother Jason Owen. “He was more nervous around Jason. He would do what he was asked to do” she said.
But Owen blamed his brother for the abuse of baby Peter told a 15 year-old witness to give police details about Barker pinching and hitting the boy.
He also claimed that he sometimes went to check Peter after hearing him cry, only to find Barker in the room denying anything was wrong.
Questioned by police about his brother’s claim, Barker said: “If anyone says that I admitted killing Peter they are lying and now trying to cover their own —-.
“There are lots of things that I could tell you about Jason and what he’s done in the past and what he’s like but I’m scared to because I really believe he will try to have me killed.”
He also told his sister during a prison visit: “Six weeks with Jason and he’s ——- ruined my life.”