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Tuesday, 9 November, 1999, 16:58 GMT
Baby killer was 'lonely drunk'
Sally Clark
Sally Clark drank to relieve her loneliness
On the surface solicitor Sally Clark appeared to have it all - supportive husband, a high-flying career, a luxury house and a bouncing baby boy.

But only 11 weeks after the birth of her first son Christopher, the "lonely drunk" smothered him to death while her husband was at a Christmas party.

Some 14 months later the depressed alcoholic was to do the same again - murdering baby Harry in his bedroom at the couple's home in Wilmslow, Cheshire.

The 35-year-old lawyer drank through both her pregnancies, often alone.

Her serious drink problem, ruled inadmissible in court, was exacerbated by loneliness, with her husband's career often keeping him away from the family home.

Addleshaw Booth: The law firm where Clark worked
When the ambitious solicitor fell pregnant with her first son Christopher, her husband Stephen, also a Manchester lawyer, was keen to start a family.

Clark wanted to wait to allow her career to develop, but she knew her biological clock was "ticking".

Once she gave birth to healthy baby Christopher, however, the solicitor was said to be "delighted".

Health visitor Brenda Merchant, who saw Christopher and his mother the day before he was murdered, said Clark seemed a "normal, caring mother" and there was no cause for concern.

The Clarks, who married in Salisbury in 1990, appeared the perfect parents with the proud mother even taking her baby into work to show him off.

Couple's home in upmarket Wilmslow
One tearful neighbour, describing how she would see Clark pushing the babies in their prams, said: "None of us believe she is guilty. She is such a lovely person."

However, work colleagues were said to be concerned about her drinking.

She was once collected from a conference at Warwick University by Mr Clark after suffering from drink and depression.

She was referred to Cheadle Royal Hospital in Greater Manchester to help her with "bouts of severe binge drinking".

Her drinking was said in court to be mainly solitary and when asked why she did it, she said she felt something was missing from her life.

She had major problems of loneliness and difficulty dealing with her feelings.

Her husband Stephen said, however, that his wife had not drunk during the second pregnancy.

Letter gives insight

Clark had become pregnant soon after Christopher died, which her husband said they saw as part of the "healing process" and a "memorial" to their lost child.

He told the court: "We both enjoyed the babies so much. They were such a joy in our lives."

The Clarks were consulted on cot death and given an alarm to monitor Harry's breathing because of the earlier "cot death".

But an insight into Clark's day-to-day life with her children was revealed to the trial jury when letters written by her on Harry's behalf a week before his murder were read.

In a letter to Mr Clark's parents she revealed why she referred to Harry as "a little bugger" and a "whingy" child who needed breast feeding very regularly.

'Telling a lie'

In a letter written on behalf of Harry, she wrote: "I like to sleep and look angelic most of the day but at night I prefer to stay awake and keep mummy and daddy awake with me.

"I now weigh 8lb 7oz - a good weight gain - probably because I am feeding every two hours still."

Prosecuting counsel Robert Spencer, QC, told the court that on the day of Harry's death, Clark had bought eight bottles of wine for a fictional dinner party.

He said: "On the very day Harry died she was telling a lie about what was happening that evening and it was a lie involving drink."

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