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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 March 2007, 11:40 GMT
Obituary: Sally Clark
Sally Clark with husband Stephen
Sally Clark, with husband Stephen, after being cleared on appeal

Sally Clark, who was wrongly jailed for the murder of her two sons, has been found dead at her home.

Her family say she never recovered from the trauma of her ordeal.

Sally Clark was wrongly jailed for three years after being found guilty of murdering her newborn sons Christopher and Harry.

Although cleared by the Court of Appeal in January 2003, a family statement following her death at the age of 42 said she never fully recovered from the effects of this "appalling miscarriage of justice".

Three judges decided that the conviction of the solicitor, who used to live in Wilmslow, Cheshire, was "unsafe".

Reacting to the appeal court decision, she said: "Today is not a victory. We are not victorious. There are no winners here.

"We have all lost out. We simply feel relief that our nightmare is finally at an end."

She had always protested her innocence since being jailed for life in November 1999 at Chester Crown Court.

She was accused of smothering 11-week-old Christopher in December 1996 and shaking eight-week-old Harry to death in January 1998 at the luxury home she shared with her husband Stephen.

Cause of death

A first attempt to have her conviction quashed was thrown out by the Court of Appeal in October 2000.

It was evidence uncovered by her husband Stephen, which had not been revealed to the jury or defence team, which proved the key to unlocking her cell door.

Home Office tests on Harry had found "lethal" levels of bacterial infection - indicating he died of natural causes.

The crux of the case revolved around whether it was conceivable the "cot deaths" of Christopher and Harry - Sally Clark said she found both babies lifeless - were coincidences.

Paediatrician Professor Sir Roy Meadow, who appeared for the prosecution, estimated the likelihood of two siblings dying of "cot death syndrome" were one in 73 million. This proved to be damning evidence.

But the Royal Statistical Society took the unprecedented step of writing to the Lord Chancellor stating that there was no statistical basis for the figure, and that the odds were much lower.

Flawed

Among other bodies, the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths had evidence that second cot deaths in the same family occur "roughly once a year".

Despite this her first appeal in 2000 failed.

The Court of Appeal said that while it accepted that Sir Roy's statistic was flawed, the judges remained convinced that there was "overwhelming" evidence of her guilt.

In 2001, scientists at Manchester University found a genetic link among cases of sudden infant death syndrome - suggesting multiple cases could be more likely than previously thought.

Sir Roy was found guilty of serious professional misconduct and struck off the medical register - but both decisions were later overturned on appeal at the High Court.

'Loving wife'

Little more information is known yet about her death, and the matter is now in the hands of the coroner.

In a statement, her family paid tribute to a "loving and talented wife, mother, daughter and friend".

The statement added: "Sally, aged 42, was released in 2003 having been wrongfully imprisoned for more than three years, falsely accused of the murder of her two sons.

"Sadly, she never fully recovered from the effects of this appalling miscarriage of justice."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Family statement pays tribute to Sally Clark



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