Sunday Express June 15, 2003
INQUIRY INTO 'CHILD MURDERS' ACCUSER
EXCLUSIVE By Lucy Johnston
The child specialist behind the prosecution of mother Trupti Patel, who was cleared of murdering her three babies, faces being struck off for misinforming the court about cot death statistics.
Professor Roy Meadow raised doubts over whether Mrs Patel's infants died of cot death by testifying that most cot deaths occur between three and four months, whereas two of Mrs Patel's children died at under one month. Government statistics contradict his evidence, showing cot deaths usually happen at under two months.
The General Medical Council, which governs UK doctors, is to investigate Sir Roy's statement, which formed key evidence against Mrs Patel, who was cleared of killing her two baby sons, Amar and Jamie, and daughter Mia last week. The Sunday Express has learned that the GMC is also investigating at least five complaints against Sir Roy, some from parents accused of abusing or murdering their children, and one from a professional colleague.
Earlier this year Sir Roy's evidence was discredited by the Court of Appeal, which freed solicitor Sally Clark after she served three years of a life sentence for murdering her two babies.
Sir Roy put forward the theory, now known as "Meadow's Law", that "one cot death is a tragedy, two is suspicious, and three is murder" and stated that the odds of two cot deaths in an affluent, non-smoking family like the Clarks' were one in 73 million, a claim disputed by the Royal Statistical Society. Lord Justice Kaye said this statistic - crucial to Mrs Clark's conviction - was "grossly misleading" and "should never have been put forward at all." The revelations have led to calls for a review of up to 100
other cases in which Sir Roy has given evidence. One alleges he gave evidence he was not qualified to give to convict a mother of trying to suffocate her 17-week-old baby boy in 1999.
Sir Roy claimed the mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was suffering from Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy, in which parents harm their children to get medical attention.
She was cleared of wrongdoing, but Sir Roy's evidence led to her losing a civil case and her second child was taken away half an hour after birth and put up for adoption.
A statement to the GMC from Professor Peter Fleming, a world expert on cot deaths, casts doubt on Sir Roy's expertise. He concluded that the boy died from an unknown cause.
The child's father blames his death on a controversial drug, Cisapride - banned in 2000 after it was found to cause heart problems linked with hundreds of deaths.
In another case Jennifer Attwood, 32, cleared her name after a post mortem examination proved that her nine month-old baby Emma died from polymyositis, a muscle destroying disease, in February 1992. Sir Roy claimed Mrs Attwood also had Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy. Her two other children were taken into care and she was only exonerated following an inquest four months after her daughter's death.
In a third case, Karen and Mark Haynes' second child was taken by social workers a year after their four-month-old son Michael died in 1999. Although he was also prescribed Cisapride, experts suspected Karen smothered him. There has been no criminal investigation and no full inquest. Sir Roy also helped secure a life sentence for Angela Cannings over the deaths of her sons, seven-week-old Jason in 1991 and 18-week-old Matthew, in 1999. He accused her of Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy despite evidence that her children could have had a genetic predisposition to cot death.
Sir Roy declined to comment, but denies all the allegations against him.
A spokeswoman from the GMC said it could not comment on individual
Mothers Against MSBP Allegations
Heart-To-Heart Discussion Group