Page last updated at 14:30 GMT, Thursday, 4 December 2008

Mother's campaign changes the law

Catherine Franklin
Catherine Franklin wanted justice for the victims and their families

A Dorset mother forced to wait 18 months to bury her two-year-old son has been celebrating after her six-year campaign led to a change in the law.

Cathy Franklin's son, Ryan, suffered a severe brain injury in the care of his father, Lee Khair, at the couple's Blandford Forum home on 26 May 2003.

Ryan died three days later. Khair was eventually convicted of manslaughter.

A new bill in the Queen's Speech limits the time a body can be held to 40 days. Ms Franklin, 33, said: "I am ecstatic."

The extra agony of waiting to bury Ryan was a huge trauma on top of his death
Cathy Franklin

The former bar manager, from Castleman Smith, Blandford, has been told the Coroners Death Certification Bill is expected to become an Act of Parliament by February.

A body will only be held for longer with the permission of the chief coroner in "extraordinary circumstances".

"I was treated appallingly - I wanted justice for the victims and their families," said Ms Franklin, who is planning to become a teacher's assistant.

"I am hoping Ryan is at rest, smiling down at me.

"No-one should have to go through what I went through - the extra agony of waiting to bury Ryan was a huge trauma on top of his death.

"It will be 'Ryan's Law' so he has not died in vain."

After the incident, Ryan was transferred from a Dorset hospital to Southampton General Hospital, where he subsequently died.

At the time, Khair, then 22, was a former L/Cpl based at Worthy Down Barracks in Winchester, Hampshire.

Ryan Franklin-Khair with his mother
More than 1,000 north Dorset residents signed Ms Franklin's petition

He denied manslaughter but was jailed for seven years on 12 December 2003. He served three years of his sentence.

Ms Franklin, then 24, decided to launch the campaign after police told her Ryan's body would not be released until after the trial.

He is buried at Blandford cemetery.

West Dorset coroner Michael Johnston reportedly called for a change in the law at the end of Ryan's case.

More than 1,000 north Dorset residents signed Ms Franklin's petition, which was presented to parliament by constituency MP Robert Walter.

"When she was solicitor general Harriet Harmon agreed this provision would be known as 'Ryan's Law'," he said.

"I am so pleased mine and Cathy's campaigning has paid off."



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
The Queen's Speech in full
03 Dec 08 |  UK Politics
Soldier jailed for killing son
12 Dec 03 |  Hampshire/Dorset

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific