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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April 2005, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Q&A: Donna Anthony case
Donna Anthony, following her release from prison
Donna Anthony's life has been 'shattered', her solicitor has said
Donna Anthony is the latest woman to be freed after her murder convictions for killing her two babies were overturned at the Court of Appeal.

Alison Holt, BBC social affairs correspondent, looks at what happened and what lies ahead for the 31-year-old walking free after six years in jail.


Q: Why was Donna Anthony jailed?

Donna Anthony was jailed for life in 1998 for murdering her two babies but has always protested her innocence.

It was at her then-home in Yeovil, Somerset, that the prosecution claimed she smothered both her children to death.

But Ms Anthony always insisted that first Jordan, aged 11 months, and then four-month-old Michael a year later, were tragic victims of cot death.

Q: What now for her?

Donna Anthony must rebuild her life; her lawyer has been looking for somewhere for her to live.

While she was in prison her mother died, which leaves her on her own.

Her solicitor George Hawkes has said she has no family or husband and that the whole episode has completely shattered her life.

"There are immense problems out there facing her which she has got to cope with, and she is going to need a lot of help and assistance," Mr Hawkes said.

Q: What has led to her release?

It was the Court of Appeal's decision 18 months ago to clear Angela Cannings of murdering her two babies that made the crucial difference for Donna Anthony.

Both cases were based on now-discredited medical evidence from paediatrician Sir Roy Meadow.

The head of the Royal College of Paediatricians, Sir Alan Craft, says lessons are being learned from these difficult cases.

"The decisions made in the past were based on the knowledge we had at the time and I think now we have to move forward and make sure that for every single child who dies suddenly and unexpectedly - it is of course a terrible tragedy - we must find out how that baby died."

The Court of Appeal has freed Donna Anthony but it has taken six years' bitter struggle to get her voice heard above those of the experts.



SEE ALSO
Anthony latest mother to be freed
11 Apr 05 |  Somerset
Profile: Sir Roy Meadow
11 Apr 05 |  Health
The science behind cot deaths
11 Apr 05 |  Health
Baby deaths mother 'release due'
15 Mar 05 |  Somerset
Baby death mum 'should be free'
22 Dec 04 |  Somerset

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