The unnamed mother of Baby P has apologized at last. In a letter to the court she is said to have sought the forgiveness of the community for failing her now dead son.
It was a spine-chilling story of cruelty and sadistic pleasure that shook UK. The baby used as a punch bag by the boyfriend of the mother gave in to the relentless pummeling and breathed its last in August 2007.
Scrawled on a piece of paper from inside prison and littered with mistakes, the mother now says that she is sorry for the pain she had caused.
Her letter comes 20 months after her son was found dead in his blood-splattered cot and a day before she is due to be sentenced for causing or allowing the 17-month-old's death.
The 27-year-old woman, who cannot be identified, wrote to the Old Bailey judge saying: 'I am sorry for all the pain and suffering my failure has led to.
'I can only hope and pray my family, my ex-husband included, can one day forgive me of my mistakes. However, I know I can't forgive myself of my shortcomings. I am truly sorry.'
The woman, her 32-year-old lover and lodger Jason Owen, 37, will be sentenced for causing or allowing Baby Peter's death.
The boyfriend was also found guilty on May 1 of raping a two-year-old girl.
A two-day sentencing hearing got under way today in front of Judge Stephen Kramer.
Her comments come as Baby P's father spoke of the moment he saw his son's lifeless body in a north London hospital.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in his statement: 'I was directed through to the resuscitation area where I learnt that Peter had already been declared dead. I saw his little limp body laying there, naked except for a nappy.
'I could not believe what was happening. I could not believe it was my son.
'He appeared to be asleep and I just wanted to pick him up and take him home. But there was nothing I could do for him. I kissed him on his forehead and said goodbye. My son was gone forever.'
Baby P's father also spoke of how he had felt horror at the knowledge that his son suffered months of pain, fear and loneliness in the months before his death.
He said his life had become a 'living nightmare' since the little boy died.
Baby P, - who can now be named as Peter, died after months of torture which was missed by police, doctors and social workers in Haringey, north London.
The woman sat ashen-faced in the dock as the letter was read out by her barrister, Paul Mendelle QC.
The letter, which was full of grammatical errors, said: 'I am writing this letter as I am not sure of a better way to express my regret.
'I accept I failed Peter. By not being fully open with social services I stopped them from being able to do a full job.'
The baby's father said in a statement: 'No human being, especially a child, deserves to suffer like Peter suffered in the last weeks and months of his life.'
Peter's father also spoke of his immense pride when his son was born in March 2006.
'Having a boy meant the world to me. To have a son to continue the family name was a source of great pleasure,' he said.
After Peter's death the father was unable to work and turned to drink, the court heard.
Peter was a 'bright and bubbly' child who was always smiling.
His father said: 'He was such an adorable and loveable little boy. He loved to be cuddled and tickled. He made anyone in his presence happy.'
But five months after Peter's birth the father's marriage broke down and he had to move out of the family home, resulting in him having less contact with the little boy.
The last time he saw his son was the weekend before his death, the court was told.
The father recalled Peter did not want to leave him when he took him back to his mother.
He said: 'When I returned him, I remember him screaming and shouting, 'daddy, daddy', so much so that (his mother) brought him back and I cuddled him.
'I have to live with the knowledge that Peter was actually screaming for help. He did not want to go home as this was a place he associated with pain and suffering.'
Meanwhile it has emerged that the three council workers dismissed over the death of Baby P have appealed against their sackings.
Cecilia Hitchen, Maria Ward and Gillie Christou could win thousands at a tribunal, Daily Mail reported.
They were dismissed from Haringey council last month and if Haringey upholds the sackings they could take their case to a tribunal.
Social worker Ms Ward, 39, failed to spot the abuse and Ms Christou, 50, a child protection register boss, agreed Peter should stay with his mother.
They were both earning up to Ł40,000 a year and were sacked for gross misconduct.
Ms Hitchen, deputy director of children and families, was sacked for 'loss of trust' in her ability. She earned Ł80,000.