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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
My fight to be a mother
The Hardinghams
The Hardinghams lost three children to forced 'hostile' adoptions
Nicola Hardingham of Cromer, Norfolk, is expecting her fourth baby in the first week of June - and she is expecting social services to take it away forever shortly after it is born.

The 26 year-old was found to have abused her son, then aged two, by violently twisting him and causing him multiple fractures, but she says her family history of brittle bone disease was wrongly ruled out.

Nicky pleads innocence. "I love my children and would never harm them. I think about them every minute of every day."

Doctors are treating Nicola's mother, her three brothers, her sister and her nephew for Osteogenesis Imperfecta - or OI - a genetic mutation which gives the sufferer frail bones.

But medical experts concluded that Nicola, and therefore her son, did not suffer from the disease - so she and her husband Mark have lost him, and another son and daughter, to permanent adoption.

Their family - who have suffered 100 fractures over 60 years - believe that Nicky is innocent. Now experts have raised concerns about the case.

In 1946, Nicola's grandmother, Joyce, was not allowed near her baby girl for six weeks because she could not explain a suspicious fracture.

Then the doctors gave her the benefit of the doubt and let Joyce bring up her children.

Today, some believe the family courts favour expert evidence - even though it could turn out to be wrong - over the word of parents who say they have been falsely accused of harming their children.

Reporter John Sweeney, who helped to quash the convictions against "child killers" Sally Clark, Angela Cannings and Donna Anthony, examines the possibility that Nicky may have been wronged.


Real Story: BBC One, Monday 15 May 2006 at 1930 BST.


SEE ALSO
'Please don't take my baby'
16 May 06 |  Health
Salt poison couple's letter plea
14 Mar 05 |  Hereford/Worcs
Q&A: Donna Anthony case
11 Apr 05 |  UK
The label with a life sentence
07 Dec 03 |  Real Story

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