Subject: The media expose more of the checkered career of Sir Roy Meadow
New hope for Julie
Jan 30 2003
By Steve Swingler, Evening Mail
A Birmingham mum convicted of killing her two children was today given fresh hope of clearing her name following the release of cot-death mother Sally Clark.
It emerged that child abuse expert Professor Roy Meadow - whose evidence in the Clark case was today hanging in tatters - also helped convict Aston mum Julie Ferris. His evidence was discredited at the Court of Appeal yesterday before Mrs Clark walked free from court after her three year ordeal behind bars.
The successful appeal has now cast doubt on the reliability on the evidence Prof Meadow gave at 32-year-old Julie's case, and that of three other Midland mothers.
Julie's family has been fighting to clear her name since her release on bail last May pending a fresh hearing into her case. Their campaign was today backed by the Shadow Health Minister Caroline Spelman (Con, Meriden).
"I have considered cases dealt with by Prof Meadow. I will now write to the families concerned to see if they want their cases reopened in light of the ruling," she said.
Julie had been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act in June 2000 after being convicted of smothering daughter Hayley and son Brandon.
Prof Meadow said in evidence there were clear 'markers' of child abuse in the deaths of nine-month-old Hayley, aged nine months, who died in 1993, and Brandon, eight months, who died in 1997.
But because the court ruled she had a mental age of six, Julie, from Charles Road in Aston, was not allowed to enter a plea or go into the witness box to defend herself.
She always denied the manslaughter charges and her supporters claim the babies could have been victims of the little-known condition Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy.
Julie's fight for justice could now receive the personal backing of Mrs Clark who today vowed to fight for others still suffering a similar fate.
Mrs Clark, a solicitor, said her ordeal had been a "living hell" after she was wrongly jailed for killing her two babies. The Court of Appeal ruled her convictions for murdering the babies were unsafe.
Doubts over dead baby cases
Jan 30 2003
By Paula Marsh, Evening Mail
The shocking appeal trial of Sally Clark is the latest in a string of cases to cast doubt on the Black dence of respected Professor Roy Meadow.
Reports by the top child abuse expert have led to at least four Birmingham mothers being branded baby killers.
But while three had their children taken away by social services, they have each maintained their complete innocence.
Jennifer Attwood, 32, cleared her name after a post-mortem examination proved her nine-month-old baby Emma haddied at Selly Oak hospital from polymyositis, a rare muscle-destroying disease in February 1992.
Experts including Prof Meadow initially claimed Mrs Attwood had Muchausen Syndrome by Proxy - a condition in which attention-seeking mums harm their babies.
While being interviewed by police her two other children were taken into care but returned after 72 hours when she and her husband Christopher protested.
Mrs Attwood was only exonerated following an inquest held four months after her daughter's death.
In another shocking case, Karen Haynes, aged 35, and her husband Mark, had their second child whisked away by social workers, a year after their first baby died.
The couple were left devastated when their four-month-old son Michael died in 1999.
Even though Michael had been prescribed a controversial drug since linked to 136 deaths nationwide, medical experts suspected Karen had smothered Michael.
Eighteen months ago the couple lost their fight to stop Emma from being adopted when social services won a High Court freeing order.
Yet no criminal investigation has ever been held and a full inquest has still not taken place.
In a third case involving Prof Meadow, Birmingham social services took away the remaining son and daughter of a woman who lost two children to cot death.
Ann Roberts still has limited access to her three-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter even though police were never called to investigate the deaths of her daughters in 1993 and 1997.
Prof Meadow made his name when he became the first person to highlight the condition Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy in 1977.
He claimed the condition led to sufferers inducing illness in children, usually their own.
The 69-year-old professor also hit the headlines in the 1990s with a controversial study into cot deaths.
He claimed that of 81 cases of children killed by their parents, 49 had originally been certified as cot deaths.