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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 March, 2004, 12:25 GMT
GMC probes expert's murder claims
Sally Clark with her husband Steve
Sally Clark was in jail when her husband was accused
The husband of Sally Clark - wrongly jailed over the deaths of her baby sons - has complained to the General Medical Council about a leading paediatrician.

Stephen Clark, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, says Professor David Southall accused him of killing the babies on the basis of comments he made on a TV programme.

Prof Southall told police the fact the Clark's first son had a nose bleed days before his death meant he was attacked.

He is due to appear before the GMC's conduct committee on 7 June.

The complaint refers to a Channel Four Dispatches programme in April 2000, in which Mr Clark said his first son, Christopher, had suffered a nose bleed 10 days before he died.

They have suffered enormously at the hands of the system and Steve, I am sure, wants those responsible to be called to account
John Batt, family friend and defence lawyer
The prosecution had alleged Mrs Clark smothered one son, and shook to death a second son.

There was a claim that old blood found in the lungs of one of her son's after his death, was evidence of an unsuccessful attempt to kill him.

But Mr Clark told the programme he had previously seen the baby choking on blood coming out of both of his nostrils.

John Batt, a family friend and lawyer who helped overturn Mrs Clark's murder conviction in February 2003 told the BBC's Today programme Professor Southall had decided this was evidence that Mr Clark had killed his two sons.

He said: "In Professor Southall's opinion, no baby aged 11 weeks can possibly have a nose bleed unless the baby has been physically attacked in the region of the nose and mouth.

"So far as I'm aware he had no other knowledge of the case except what he may have read in the newspapers and what he saw on the Dispatches programme.

Professor David Southall
Professor David Southall already faces GMC investigations

"He certainly wasn't a witness in the case either for the prosecution or the defence."

Social services launched an investigation and a court appointed a paediatrician from Manchester's Booth Hall Children's Hospital, Professor Tim David, to investigate.

He decided he did not support Professor Southall's claims and no further action was taken.

The consultant at the North Staffordshire Hospital, in Stoke-on-Trent, already faces investigation by the GMC over claims he wrongly diagnosed child abuse, which resulted in some parents losing custody of their children.

Mr Batt said Professor Southall's allegation, if true, would have meant the Clark's losing custody of their surviving child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and never being allowed to care for children in the future.

Freed on appeal

He said: "They have suffered enormously at the hands of the system and Steve, I am sure, wants those responsible to be called to account."

Mrs Clark was initially jailed in 1999 after being found guilty of smothering 11-week-old Christopher in December 1996 and shaking eight-week-old Harry to death in January 1998.

Her original trial was told by paediatrician Professor Sir Roy Meadow the chances of both sons dying as the result of a cot death were one in 73 million.

That figure was challenged by her supporters and rejected by the Appeal Court in February 2003.

Professor Southall said he had been advised by lawyers not to comment before his hearing before the GMC.

The GMC confirmed that Professor Southall was due to appear before it next summer, and would not comment on the case.

Cheshire Police would only confirm that the couple were interviewed in the early stages of the inquiry.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Andrew Hosken
"Sally Clark had been wrongly convicted for the murder of her two babies"



SEE ALSO:
GMC probes Munchausen's doctor
03 Mar 04  |  Health
Mothers fight child abuse claims
03 Mar 04  |  Politics
Cot death expert breaks silence
21 Jan 04  |  Health
Diagnosing cot death
30 Jan 03  |  Breakfast


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