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Wednesday, 2 February, 2000, 11:44 GMT
'They thought my baby was murdered'

Liesa Maughan Liesa Maughan was investigated by the police

A mother whose baby daughter died from cot death has said clear guidelines are needed so that grieving families are not placed under unjustified suspicion.

A major new report, commissioned by the Department of Health, claims that cases where a baby has died of abuse have been overlooked because the current system for investigating cot death is inadequate.

I would not like to think that any other family in this country has to endure what we endured
Liesa Maughan
It is estimated that as many as one in six cot deaths are misdiagnosed.

The failings in the system were highlighted by the case of solicitor Sally Clark.

Mrs Clark was convicted of the murder of her two baby sons, but initially their deaths were blamed on sudden infant death syndrome, or cot death.

However, others are concerned that innocent families are placed under suspicion at a very trying time.

Caitlin Maughan Caitlin Maughan died as a baby
Liesa Maughan's daughter, Caitlin, died when she was five weeks old and the family was wrongly suspected of harming the baby after her death was misdiagnosed.

Liesa said: "The police arrived, they believed one member of the family had actually shaken her or dropped her maliciously.

"I would not like to think that any other family in this country has to endure what we endured.

"It put a lot of strain on what we were already feeling any way.

"It's difficult, it's very hurtful. There are not clear rules, not clear guidelines in this sort of situation.

"There needs to be so you know where you stand, but also the professionals know where they stand - I think it needs to be there for everbody's sake."

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See also:
02 Feb 00 |  Health
Cot death probes 'overlook abuse'
13 Jan 99 |  Health
Overheated blood may cause cot death
05 Aug 99 |  Health
Cot death rate falls
10 Aug 99 |  Health
Duvets 'still a cot death risk'
29 Sep 99 |  Health
Experts back hidden abuse cameras

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