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Nobody Responsible for Mother's Death
November 7, 2007 permalink
The death of Sally Clark has been ruled accidental. Two of her three children died in infancy, for which she spent three years in prison as a double baby killer until exonerated by the courts. She never recovered. In the face of the obvious evidence that she drank herself to death, the ruling of accident spares the family the embarrassment of admitting that it was suicide, and spares the child protection apparatus the greater embarrassment of admitting that they killed her.
Wrongly-jailed Sally Clark died from drink
By Matthew Moore, Last Updated: 1:55pm GMT 07/11/2007
A solicitor wrongly jailed for murdering two of her children died of acute alcohol intoxication, a coroner ruled today.
Sally Clark, 42, had so much alcohol in her blood when she died that she would have been five times over the drink-driving limit, post mortem tests showed.
Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray ruled today that Mrs Clark's death was accidental, and said there was no evidence that she intended to commit suicide.
Earlier the hearing heard that Mrs Clark had been receiving treatment for "serious psychiatric problems" since the trauma of her court cases and time in prison.
"These problems included enduring personality change after catastrophic experience, protracted grief reaction and alcohol dependency syndrome," the coroner's officer told the hearing.
Mrs Clark's body was found in bed by her cleaner at her home in Chelmsford, Essex in March this year.
"There has clearly been a most tragic history leading up to Mrs Clark's sad death," the coroner said. "The court's hope is that Mr Clark and the family will be able to treasure all the happy memories they have of Mrs Clark."
Mrs Clark was in prison for four years largely as a result of discredited evidence from the paediatrician Prof Sir Roy Meadow.
She had been accused of smothering her sons Christopher, who was 12 weeks old, and Harry, who was eight weeks old. Her conviction was subsequently quashed by the Court of Appeal.
Today a spokesman for her family said Mrs Clark had never been able to come to terms with the false accusations made against her.
"Having suffered what was acknowledged by the Court of Appeal to be one of the worst miscarriages of justice in recent years, it is hardly surprising that her ordeal culminated in the diagnosis of 'enduring personality change after catastrophic experience', 'protracted grief reaction' and 'alcohol dependency syndrome' and that she was never able to return to being the happy, kind and generous person we all knew and loved," the spokesman said.
"The hope is that some good may come out of the tragedy of her untimely death and that a sense of balance will be restored which will not only protect infants but also their innocent parents."
Mrs Clark was charged with murder following the sudden death of Harry in Jan 1998. Fourteen months earlier, her first child Christopher had died suddenly at home and when Harry died, medical staff called in the police.
The convictions were quashed after the Appeal Court was presented with a medical report discovered by her husband Stephen in November 2001, which showed the presence of the staphylococcus aureus bacteria in Harry's central spinal fluid.
In addition it revealed the presence of a higher than average white to red blood cell ratio and polymorphs - cells which fight infection. All suggested that Harry, rather than being the victim of a non-accidental death, could have been suffering from a rare form of meningitis.
Source: Daily Telegraph