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Last Updated: Monday, 24 April 2006, 08:11 GMT 09:11 UK
Woman challenges salt poison case
Susan Hamilton
Susan Hamilton was convicted of endangering the child's life
A woman who was jailed for poisoning a young girl with salt has said she will appeal against her conviction.

Susan Hamilton, from Edinburgh, was sentenced to four years in 2003 after the eight-year-old girl suffered serious brain damage from a stroke.

However, Hamilton has told the BBC that new medical evidence shows the child's injuries could have had other causes.

It follows the case of Ian and Angela Gay, who had a manslaughter conviction quashed earlier this month.

The couple, from Halesowen, were jailed for five years in 2005 for poisoning their three-year-old foster son, Christian Blewitt, with salt.

Their lawyers argued Christian had a rare sort of salt diabetes, which led to his high salt levels.

Hopefully I get my appeal, we get our life back, the child gets to know the truth and we can start again
Susan Hamilton

Hamilton, who has already served her sentence, will use similar arguments in an attempt to have her conviction overturned.

During Hamilton's original trial, the court was told how the girl - who cannot be named - had been admitted to Edinburgh's Royal Hospital for Sick Children on several occasions.

In March 2000, the girl suffered a stroke and doctors found high levels of sodium in her bloodstream, which they believed could only have been administered deliberately.

'Nightmare began'

Hamilton, who always denied giving the girl an overdose, said she first heard of salt poisoning when the child was in hospital.

"That's when our nightmare began," she said.

"The child is lying upstairs, possibly dying, we'd been told to get family up, etc, and then they hit us with this.

"I just kept thinking this isn't real. But it was real and I got questioned, questioned and questioned by two policemen.

"I can't remember much of it because I was in shock and I just wanted to see the child."

Hamilton said the child developed a condition where her sodium level increased when she had sickness and diarrhoea.

She added: "It kept going up and myself and my husband asked on a lot of occasions why it was going up and they told us it was an enigma."

'Want the truth'

Hamilton said there were parallels between her case and that of Ian and Angela Gay.

"There are other cases I've heard of and another two cases that I know are waiting to go to trial.

"If our case or the Gay case can help anyone else then that's what I want. I want the truth, I just want an answer.

"Hopefully now we've got that answer and I get my appeal, we get our life back, the child gets to know the truth and we can start again."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch an interview with Susan Hamilton



SEE ALSO:
Salt case couple facing retrial
12 Apr 06 |  West Midlands
Salt poisoning woman jailed
29 Jul 03 |  Scotland
Father rejects poison theory
29 May 03 |  Scotland


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