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Last Updated: Monday, 7 June, 2004, 02:11 GMT 03:11 UK
Freed mother speaks out on ordeal
Sally Clark with her husband Steve (right) after winning her appeal
Sally Clark with her husband Steve (right) after winning her appeal
Sally Clark, who was wrongfully convicted of murdering her two baby sons, has told how the experience has 'destroyed' her life.

A book about her ordeal is being serialised by the Times newspaper.

In the book, she describes how difficult it has been to bond with her five-year-old son Tom.

She admits: "I am damaged by what happened. I am a different person. I can't cope. Things have got worse, not better."

You can be as loving and devoted a mum as anybody ever born and still wind up in prison, maybe for the rest of your life, for something that never happened
Sally Clark

Sally Clark says the three years and 81 days in prison and the long fight to clear her name have meant she is no longer the person she was.

The once confident solicitor can no longer bear to be in crowds, nor does she feel happy collecting her son from school.

Sally's husband Steve, who had to sell the family home and give up his solicitor's partnership to care for Tom and lead the fight to free his wife, says the couple agreed to be involved in the book so that their son would have a record of what happened to the family.

But he says they will receive no money for it: "The book has been written because the proper story needs to be told.

Medical evidence

Sally Clark was pregnant with Tom when she was charged in 1999 with the murder of her first son Christopher, who was 11 weeks old when he died, and of her second son Harry who was eight weeks old.

When Tom, now five, was born in hospital, she was not allowed to be alone with him, and he was handed over to a foster family when he was 10 days old.

Her convictions were quashed in January 2003 after medical evidence was revealed showing Christopher died from an undetected lung infection and Harry from a bacterial infection.

Sally and Steve say they are still trying to rebuild their lives.

Sally is trying to bond with Tom (not his real name) after spending so long apart from him. But she says, even now, he runs first to his father or the nanny instead of her.

"Mornings are particularly difficult," she says. "Tom always calls out 'Daddy', never 'Mummy."

She adds: "I don't think for a minute that 100% of people think I'm innocent after all the things that were said about me in the press."

'Fantastic mother'

Her husband Steve, 42, tells the Times: "Sally isn't well and she never will be again.

"She constantly feels people are judging her."

He says he did wonder at times if his wife was guilty.

"I'm not a lovelorn idiot. I would by lying if I said it never crossed my mind - did she actually do it?

"But the you think, no, of course she didn't. She was a fantastic mother and she doted on the children."

The Clarks hope their experiences will lead to the government and the NHS taking urgent measures to ensure it never happens to anyone else.

Mr Clark says the most important change would be "for every death that is supposedly suspicious to be looked at by a properly qualified paediatric pathologist".

One of the hardest decisions the Clarks now have to make is whether or not to have another child.

In the book, Sally says: "Could either of us take the risk of being alone with a new baby, for fear that if something happened...?

"Neither of us could ever harm a baby, but we now know that you can be as loving and devoted a mum as anybody ever born and still wind up in prison, maybe for the rest of your life, for something that never happened."




SEE ALSO:
Judges explain baby death ruling
11 Apr 03  |  Manchester
The case of Sally Clark
28 Jan 03  |  England


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