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Last Updated: Monday, 2 June, 2003, 19:51 GMT 20:51 UK
Babies 'died natural deaths'
Trupti Patel
Mrs Patel's children may have suffered from a metabolic disorder
An expert has told a court there was no evidence to indicate that the sudden deaths of a mother's three babies were unnatural.

Dr Jean Keeling, president of the International Paediatric Pathology Association, said she could find no evidence to suggest that any of Trupti Patel's three children were deliberately suffocated.

"These babies have no evidence of any sort of injury, either recent or old, and no evidence of prior episodes of suffocation," she said.

Mrs Patel, 35, of Maidenhead, Berkshire, denies murdering her two baby sons, Amar and Jamie, and her baby daughter, Mia, between 1997 and 2001.

'Inherited condition'

Dr Keeling told Reading Crown Court that none of the babies had suffered any bleeding in their lungs before they died.

This, she said, might have indicated if they had been starved of oxygen at any stage in their lives, which would show whether there had ever been any attempt to restrict their breathing.

Dr Keeling added that she had not found any evidence of other injuries, recent or old, of any sort, which would suggest they had died unnaturally.

She suggested that could have been caused by an inherited condition or a metabolic disorder.

CPR injuries

Dr Keeling, a member of a national advisory body which examines stillbirths and deaths in infancy, said she supported the findings of the initial post mortem into the death of Patel's first son Amar, which concluded that it was a case of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

She said she believed the four fractured ribs found in Mia were the result of attempts to resuscitate her, and not the result of child abuse.

However, she agreed with prosecuting counsel Paul Dunkels QC that she could not find any evidence of an illness, disease or natural disorder which could explain the deaths of Amar, Jamie and Mia.

The trial continues.

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02 May 03  |  Berkshire

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