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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 17:18 GMT
Parents battle for child custody
The Webster family
A court will rule in June if Brandon can stay with his parents
A Norfolk couple battling to keep their fourth child after three others were taken into care have spoken of their struggle to disprove abuse claims.

A senior judge lifted reporting restrictions on the case covering allegations of abuse by Mark and Nicky Webster citing public interest.

Social services claim the family abused three other children.

But the Websters claim a genetic bone defect accounted for the injuries. A final court hearing is set for June.

I keep worrying that he's going to get a little bruise or red mark and the finger is going to be pointed at us
Nicky Webster

The Websters, from Cromer, came under the national media spotlight when they fled to Ireland hoping their fourth child, Brandon, would be born there.

But Irish authorities ordered Brandon should be kept in hospital and the couple then agreed to return to the UK and went straight to an assessment centre.

There the couple were under round-the-clock supervision, even having to ask permission to change Brandon's nappy.

"It was really weird having to pick up the phone and tell a member of staff that we were ready to feed or change or bath Brandon," said Mr Webster, 33.

"We don't want Brandon growing up and us having to tell him that his siblings were taken away from us because we were branded child abusers," said Mrs Webster, 26.

'Anxious and wary'

She added: "I keep worrying that he's going to get a little bruise or red mark and the finger is going to be pointed at us."

Social services claimed the family abused one toddler by violently twisting him, causing multiple fractures.

One of the Webster's children was "intensely anxious and wary" and was fearful with its parents said Lisa Christensen, Director of Children's Services for Norfolk County Council.

She also said their son had not suffered any further fractures since being adopted.

Ms Christensen said the couple did not take "professional concern" seriously.

Brittle bones

But the couple said members of Mrs Webster's family suffer from Osteogenesis Imperfecta - brittle bone disease.

They also argue that even though Mrs Webster does not have the disease, research from the US suggests she could have the defective gene without displaying any symptoms and could have passed it on to her son.

Last week a high court judge lifted the strict anonymity governing care proceedings following an application by BBC One's Real Story, backed by the couple and The Mail On Sunday.

They now have custody pending a final legal decision next June but social workers can make spot checks on the family as well as regular supervision.

Their case is featured on Real Story on BBC1 on Wednesday 8 November at 19:30 GMT.


SEE ALSO
Couple allowed to take baby home
03 Nov 06 |  Norfolk
Judge lifts family reporting ban
02 Nov 06 |  Norfolk
'Please don't take my baby'
16 May 06 |  Health
My fight to be a mother
15 May 06 |  Real Story

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