The stepfather of Baby Peter has forced an animal charity to take
down a campaign poster featuring his mugshot - because it damages his
Lawyers for Steven Barker - who tortured Baby Peter and raped a two-year-old - demanded that Animal Rights group PETA
remove the billboard claiming it was libellous.
The poster had a mugshot of the thug with the words: "People who are violent toward animals rarely stop there."
Barker was known to have abused guinea pigs, frogs and other creatures before turning his violence on children.
But lawyers for the 33-year-old immediately wrote to the charity demanding it be taken down from its spot near to where Peter Connelly
died in Haringey, north London.
They claimed that a description of Barker as a "killer" was damaging to their client's reputation.
Tim Bittlestone, of solicitors Leslie Franks
, wrote: "You should be aware that Mr Barker was acquitted of murder at the Central Criminal Court.
"Your campaign poster is therefore libellous. Please remove it
immediately or we will be forced to institute proceedings against you."
PETA has agreed to remove the poster but bosses have now redesigned it without the "offending" words.
And the charity has revealed to Sky News Online that it plans to
circulate the billboard across the UK at animal cruelty hotpots.
The poster now reads: "Steven Barker. Animal Abuser. Baby Abuser.
Rapist. People Who Are Violent Towards Animals Rarely Stop There.
Report Cruelty To Animals Immediately."
Barker is serving 12 years for "causing or allowing" the death of Baby Peter and life for rape.
The court found that Peter suffered months of torture, resulting in 50 separate injuries, including a fractured spine.
PETA's Poorva Joshipura said: "Whatever the courts call Barker, the
fact remains that violence towards animals is evil in and of itself,
and if uncorrected and unchallenged, it may be a warning that the
perpetrator won't stop there.
"Abusers are generally cowards who seek out the most vulnerable victims, including children, animals and elderly people."
Child-killers Mary Bell, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables as well as
serial murderers Ian Huntley, Thomas Hamilton (Dunblane massacre), Fred
West, Denis Nilsen, Ian Brady and Jeffrey Dahmer all started out by
deliberately harming animals