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Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 19:32 GMT 20:32 UK
Baby killer's case to be reviewed
Sally Clark
Sally Clark has always protested her innocence
A solicitor serving a life sentence for killing her two babies has had her case referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Sally Clark, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, was given two life sentences in November 1999 for the murder of 11-week-old Christopher in 1996, and eight-week-old Harry in 1998.

Mrs Clark has always maintained both boys were victims of sudden infant death syndrome (Sids) - commonly known as cot death - although the jury decided she had smothered them.

An appeal against the sentence was dismissed in 2000, but medical evidence not available to the jury at the original trial is now supposed to have come to light.

The babies were found at the Clark's home

Mr Clark said: "We are delighted.

"We are confident that compelling new evidence, which reveals a natural cause of death but which was withheld from the defence at the trial, will overturn the earlier false convictions.

"It is vital that Sally is reunited with her surviving son, now nearly four, who has been punished by the absence of his mother for too long."

Mrs Clark applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which reviews potential miscarriages of justice, last year and on Tuesday, the commission referred the case to the Court of Appeal.

During her trial the jury was told that the chances of both babies dying naturally was 73 million to one.

However the professor who gave the evidence to the court has since admitted the statistic was a mistake.


We are anxious there should be changes in the way in which the legal system treats the unexplained deaths of babies

Mr Clark

A special report on BBC Radio 4's File on Four programme, broadcast on Tuesday at 2000 BST, is expected to reveal that baby Harry, at the time of his death, was suffering from a bacterial infection.

According to the programme, pathologist Dr Alan Williams commissioned the report which revealed the infection, but the jury never saw that evidence.

The programme goes on to say that two senior pathologists now say that the infection is the most likely cause of death - and one says that "no other cause of death is sustainable".

'Shameful' treatment

Mrs Clark, who has spent more than two years in prison, sees her surviving child one day every month.

Mrs Clarke's solicitor Mike Makey said: "Tests of the blood and other body fluids demonstrated that all was not well with this trial.

"I think as a matter of common sense to anybody who knows the totality of the evidence, the fact is that the convictions are mutually dependent.

"Were one to be successfully challenged it would be totally illogical for the other conviction to stand."

Hundreds of pages of medical records were obtained by Mr Clark two years after the trial.

Mr Clark added: "We are anxious there should be changes in the way in which the legal system treats the unexplained deaths of babies, to ensure that other innocent, bereaved mothers and their families are not treated as shamefully."

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"Mrs Clark has a chance to prove her innocence"

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See also:

02 Jul 02 | England
16 Feb 01 | Health
09 Nov 99 | Health
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