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Anorak | Peddling Grief: Baby S Comes After Baby P

Peddling Grief: Baby S Comes After Baby P

by | 14th, December 2008

THE SUNDAY Mirror delivers Sean, a “NEW BABY P”.

The grief-peddling paper goes on:

Scandal of Baby S: 18-month-old taken off at-risk register and killed by his mother

Baby S? Well, with the Baby P story running out of steam, it’s time for some more baby Porn. Some see. Pull out a hankie.

Tragic toddler Sean Denton – left by Social Services to die at the hands of his drug-abusing mother who had already served a jail sentence for manslaughter.

Terrible stuff. Shocking. But Sean Denton’s life and death is not as brutal a story as that of Baby P’s, whose mother awaits sentencing. But perhaps if the Sunday Mirror can call him Baby S it can look like a progression of the Baby P story?

Amanda Adams smothered her rosy-cheeked son when he was just 18 months old, before hanging herself.

That’s right, Baby S isn’t blonde. So he’s “rosy-cheeked”. And his mum isn’t awaiting trail for his killing because she killed herself. The Mirror puts on it deerstalker and says she “suffered mental health problems”.

Sean’s father Mark Denton was also an alcoholic drug abuser. Amanda, 30, and Mark, 35, together killed a squatter in a violent row in 1999 – and were each sentenced for manslaughter. Amanda was jailed for life, Mark received a lesser sentence – but both released after just five years.

Oh, and “Mark hanged himself last October”. The Mirror does not say if his mind was disturbed.

And now the clincher, and why this is front-page news:

Not surprisingly, Sean was placed on the at-risk register before he was even born. But incredibly he was taken off it at the age of two months because social workers took a “positive” view of his parents.

Yeah, it’s a useless social services story and some of what Janice Turner in The Times calls “pornography of child violence”. The Mirror responds to the popularity of the Sun’s Baby P campaign and sets up one of it own. Can it find another horrific, tawdry death to shine alight on?

The Press corps has no time to read the entire case notes, to work with social services for an extended period to find out how it all works. It wants a neat statistic. It wants a death.

Sean’s desperately short life started in Barnet, North London, on April 10, 2006 – just a month after Baby P was born in the neighbouring London borough of Haringey.

How’s that for a coincidence!

He died on October 26, 2007 – two months after the now-notorious death of Baby P…

What are the odds?

A whistleblower who attended the Serious Case Review was appalled by what he heard. He told the Sunday Mirror: “Sirens should have been ringing as loud and clear over this case as possible…

“Baby S’s death was completely preventable – no ifs or buts.”

The murder of a child was preventable. Get that? Keep that deerstalker on, folks…

The grimness of the story seeks to tap into the reader’s mourning sickness. Objectivity, a mainstay of journalism, is overridden by a lust for titilation and entertainment.

Come see the tragedy. Don’t dare to look away – lest the next victim be you and yours…



Posted: 14th, December 2008 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (6) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink