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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 June, 2003, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Judge's 'pity' for dead babies mother
Trupti Patel
The judge is to continue summing up in the Patel trial on Wednesday
A mother accused of murdering her three babies may deserve pity whether she is innocent or guilty, a judge has said.

Trupti Patel's case was a tragic one, he told members of the jury in his summing up on Tuesday.

But Mr Justice Jack warned jurors at Reading Crown Court to stay focused on the evidence and not be distracted by emotive issues.

Mrs Patel, 35, a pharmacist from Maidenhead, Berkshire, denies killing sons Amar and Jamie and daughter Mia between 1997 and 2001.

If she did kill them then she deserves condemnation but perhaps also she deserves pity
Mr Justice Jack

Each baby died aged less than three months.

The judge said: "It is a tragic story and is capable of arousing strong feelings, strong emotions.

"I say that because if Trupti Patel is innocent of the deaths of her children she has suffered their tragic loss and has had the terrible further burden of being accused of their deaths.

"If, on the other hand, she did kill them then she deserves condemnation but perhaps also she deserves pity."

He said he would be directing them with a choice of three possible verdicts: guilty of murder, not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter or not guilty.

He added: "You should resist being drawn towards a verdict of manslaughter as a half-way house, a compromise between the prosecution and defence as that would be a quite wrong approach."

His summing up is expected to continue on Wednesday.

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