Aged 16, a young Tracey Connelly met her husband, Baby Peter's natural father, who was many years her senior but she pretended she was older than she really was.

At first the couple were happy. The husband worked to support their young family, and she stayed at home to look after the house and the children. In court, her husband branded her a "lazy housewife" who sat around all day.

She complained that her husband could often be domineering and often made her feel stupid. Despite having GCSEs in English and IT, she was undeducated and felt that her partner could be patronising.

Connelly began turning to other men, and after meeting well-built Stephen Barker, who she called "every girl's dream", she split with her husband and Barker moved in.

At first, his presence in the house was a secret.

Tracey banned her estranged husband from entering the house and his contact with the children was limited to a wave from his window as they walked to school in the morning and a good night phone call at night.

The unemployed mother explained she did not tell social services about her new love because she did not want her benefits to be cut.

In June 2007, the month of her second arrest by police for abuse, Connelly admitted to friends on her website: "My fella is nuts but being in love is great".

Diary entries written by Connelly revealed that she felt that her life was now coming together thanks to her love and that she wished it would last. She was so enamoured with Barker that she tatooed his initials on her back.

But it has also come to light that Barker often taunted Tracey about her weight and often made oinking noises at her.

Still, the court heard that the pair often spent hours locked away in their bedroom having sex leaving the children to their own devices.

Friends of Tracey had nothing much to say about Stephen who was quiet and hardly spoke. Many witnesses who took the stand described him as a "simpleton". In court, his expression was gormless: vacant eyes and showed no indication that he understood the severity of his situation.

In court, it was suggested Connelly had been Barker's first lover and that he was eager to please her. And Connelly admitted that she enjoyed her position in the relationship being the smarter one for a change.

Maria Ward, the social worker assigned to the case in February 2007, told the court that Connelly had always co-operated with social workers and showed "good insight" into her situation.

A notion that was reiterated time and again by Haringey Council's shamed children's director Sharon Shoesmith who said that all the signs pointed to an issue of neglect rather than abuse.

Miss Ward visited the family four days before Peter's death, to find him in his buggy with his hands and face covered in chocolate and cream on his head. Tracey claimed he had been eating a chocolate biscuit adding the cream was treatment for a scalp infection.

She said: “He appeared like he often appeared at visits. There was nothing unusual. He was a bit tired as it was the end of the day. I spoke to him and he smiled. I noticed that his scalp looked a bit better.

“I asked his mother if she was going to clean his face because they were going out and she said that she would. He was pushed in his buggy and put in the kitchen and he was still in there when I left the house. That was the last time I saw him.”

At this stage in his short life, Peter may have already been paralysed by a forceful injury that snapped his infant spine at the base.

But chain-smoking Connelly was well known for dumping her son in his play pen, cot or his push chair when he was demanding attention and complained that "he liked cuddles too much", the court heard.

Connelly herselfhad been placed on Islington's child protection register in 1991, aged ten, following concerns about her hygiene and appearance.

Perhaps the most shocking relevation came when Tracey on the stand told the court that when she noticed her son's missing tooth the day before he died, she thought nothing of it because she was on "cloud nine" having learned Haringey police had dropped charges against her.

When grilled as to how this could have happened, she offered this limp excuse: "I thought it could have been an infection."

She also tried to pin the abuse on Jason Owen whom she claimed had threatened her stating "you will regret this" after telling him she wanted to leave the house.

She accused Owen, who changed his surname by deed poll to distance himself from his brother, of being a bad influence on Barker.

But while waiting for the ambulance to arrive after finding her only son stiff and blue in his cot, Connelly's concern had been to find her cigarettes and brush her naturally curly hair which she has since been cut into a short bob.

During the second rape trial, Connelly spent most of her time with her eyes downcast or shedding tears, as she played with her new, straight hairstyle which was later revealed as having had been blow-dried in the prison's hair salon.

Since her conviction, she has written letters to a friend saying: "I get angry when I think about my ex so I try my best not to think of him.

"When I first came to Holloway I didn't believe he could have done this... But as the weeks and months passed I slowly started to wake up to the truth, so now I hope he rots in hell."

But during the trial, the pair were clearly still on speaking terms and had been seen sharing a joke in the dock in the absence of the jury.