A TOTTENHAM GP found guilty of failing to protect Baby Peter was a conscientious and caring doctor, a former patient has said.

Dr Jerome Ikwueke, 63, was suspended for 12 months by the General Medical Council (GMC) after a misconduct panel found he had missed a vital opportunity to save 17-month-old Peter Connelly's life.

The GP, who has practised in Tottenham for the past 20 years, failed to consider child abuse when the toddler visited his surgery with bruising, the panel said.

In an ironic twist to the tale, it was Dr Ikwueke's referral to the Whittington Hospital, in Archway, that prompted Haringey Council to place the toddler on its child protection register after bruising that appeared on his body gave doctors cause for alarm.

Tottenham resident Justin Hinchcliffe, whose mother is still a patient, made representations in support of his childhood doctor's hearing.

He said: "No one ever forgets a good GP. In all of our dealings with him, we found Dr Ikwueke to be conscientious, thorough, professional, caring and exceptionally likeable. My mother recalls how Dr Ikwueke always went the extra mile to help her.

"She felt he was a real advocate for her, arranging referrals and taking her through every hospital letter with a fine toothcomb to learn more about her condition and ensure that she had understood everything.

"When I learnt that questions were being asked about Dr. Ikwueke's professional conduct, I was shocked and saddened."

He added: "I believe Dr. Ikwueke to be both a good man and a competent and caring GP. I think you would be hard-pushed to find any of his current or former patients who would disagree."

The Nigerian doctor was the only official accused of failing the toddler who attended his hearing in person. Consultant paediatrician Sabah Al-Zayyat fled the country days before she was due to face the GMC, with lawyers on her behalf citing she was 'suicidal'.

Former Haringey social workers Gille Christou and Maria Ward also waived their right to allow inquiries into their care proceed without them.