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Tuesday, November 9, 1999 Published at 11:45 GMT


UK

Couple fight baby murder conviction

Stephen Clark is standing by his wife

The husband of the solicitor convicted of murdering her two babies has promised to fight to free her from jail.

Stephen Clark said in a statement: "During both their short lives my wife was a caring, devoted mother to our sons.

"They were not murdered and she is innocent."


The BBC's Richard Wells: "He stood by his wife throughout"
Mike Mackey, of Manchester-based solicitors Burton Copeland, said the couple would appeal against the conviction.

Earlier, a jury at Chester Crown Court found Mrs Clark guilty of murdering her two sons Christopher and Harry - within 14 months of each other.


[ image: Sally Clark: Denied the charges]
Sally Clark: Denied the charges
Clark's claims that she discovered the lifeless bodies of her babies, one in a bouncing chair and the other in a baby basket, at her home were rejected.

The chances of the children both suffering cot deaths were one in 73 million, the court was told.

But in his statement, Mr Clark added that his wife was "being convicted on the basis of flawed evidence and statistics".

"For almost two years the Crown insisted Harry was shaken to death.

"Two days before the trial that changed when their leading expert was forced to accept he had seen haemorrhages which like these crimes never existed. There were in true fact none.

"I would ask any parent who has suffered the tragedy of cot death to come forward and help us put right this terrible wrong and prevent others having to tread this awful path."

Life sentence

Clark, 35, will be sentenced at a later date and will remain in custody.

Mr Justice Harrison said there were other matters to investigate before sentence.

However, murder convictions carry a mandatory life tariff.

The man who led the investigation, Detective Inspector John Gardner, rejected suggestions that police could have conducted a more thorough investigation into the death of Christopher in 1996.

He said: "It is not easy. When people make remarks about what we did or didn't do you have to realise you are probably dealing with the hardest thing you will ever have to do as a police officer - to confront a parent and ask them about the accusation of killing their own children.

"That to most people is unbelievable."


[ image: The babies were killed in Clark's Cheshire home]
The babies were killed in Clark's Cheshire home
Mr Robin Spencer, QC, prosecuting, told the jury during the 18-day trial that the babies died "at their mother's hand" on both occasions in the upstairs bedroom of their cottage.

Clark, who was suffering from alcoholism and depression, had reached the end of her tether, he told the court.

He said the allegations "strike at the very core of everything natural and wholesome in the relationship between mother and child".

The court was told that Dr Alan Williams, who carried out both children's post mortems, no longer considered either death natural.

'I love children'

The prosecution said Christopher was smothered to death and less than 14 months later his brother was shaken or smothered to death by Clark.

Clark denied the murder, claiming she found Christopher a dusty grey colour in his Moses basket.

With Harry, Clark claimed she was in her bedroom when she turned around and saw him with his head slumped forward.

Clark, who has since had a third child now aged one, told the court she felt "complete disbelief" at losing two children.

"I was meant to have children, I love them so much," she said.



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