Hell on the corner – the background to the Baby P killing

The semi-detached house in which Peter Connelly spent the last hours of his brief life is bland and unremarkable. A slightly shabby prewar slice of suburbia, with bay windows and a side door, it does not stand out in a nondescript street a few minutes from the Tottenham Hotspur football ground. You would walk past without taking a second look. Which is exactly what the locals did.

Of the 12 inhabitants of nearby houses to whom I spoke, only one, a Polish man, had noticed the family living at the end of the street. He thought they had seemed like “good people”. Some of the other residents had only recently moved into the street and the rest could not recall their former neighbours.

Yet at one time the occupants of number 37 included an obese young woman, her four small children, a 6ft 4in muscular man, his brother and his brother’s three children and 15-year-old girlfriend, three large dogs and a couple of snakes. The family was also white and of Anglo-Irish origin, unlike its neighbours, who come from Africa, the subcontinent and eastern Europe.

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