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Review warns of more wrongful cot death convictions



More than two dozen parents may have been wrongly convicted of killing their babies, the Attorney General has revealed, suggesting that miscarriages of justice over cot deaths may be more widespread than feared. In almost one in eight cases so far checked by Lord Goldsmith, the conviction has now been judged potentially unsafe. Among them are the cases of six women currently in jail for infanticide, and two locked up in psychiatric hospitals. The government review was triggered by a string of high-profile cases – including those of Angela Cannings and Sally Clark – of mothers jailed for murdering their babies, only to be freed after medical evidence used against them was discredited. Both Cannings and Clark had insisted they lost their children to cot death. Until now it has been thought Goldsmith’s review would uncover relatively few similar tragedies: he announced in spring that a preliminary trawl of 100 of the most urgent cases had unearthed only five potentially dubious convictions. However, he has now written to lawyers for another 19 defendants alerting them to a potential miscarriage of justice, bringing the total so far uncovered to 24. The final tally is expected to be still higher, with another 99 cases yet to be examined. ‘This is exactly what we warned would happen,’ said Penny Mellor of the Dare to Care parents group, which campaigns for parents falsely accused of harming their children…

Guardian Unlimited