Meadows helped wrongly convict a mother of murdering her two sons, medical watchdogs were told yesterday. Two other mums Professor Sir Roy Meadow helped send to jail for killing their babies were at a General Medical Council hearing to confront him for the first time since they were freed. Sitting 10ft from him, Angela Cannings and Donna Anthony also heard Prof Meadow, 72, branded “naive” and “incompetent”.
Prof Meadow denies a charge of serious professional misconduct for evidence he gave at the trial of Cheshire solicitor Sally Clark. She was freed on appeal two years ago after being jailed in 1999 for murdering sons Christopher and Harry. The GMC panel in London heard Prof Meadow had told Mrs Clark’s trial the chance of her losing two babies naturally was one in 73 million – despite knowing of research suggesting it could be as low as one in 77. Robert Seabrook, QC, said his evidence “was flawed and misleading”and used to suggest probability of guilt.
The QC went on: “He either did not understand what he was doing, should not have given such evidence and was incompetent to do so or he was using the material carelessly in support of a proposition he was making to the effect that Sally Clark had smothered her babies.”Six months after Mrs Clark, 40, was freed, Prof Meadow was an expert witness at the trial of Trupti Patel. She was cleared of murdering three babies.
Mrs Anthony was freed on appeal in April after wrongly spending more than six years in prison for murdering daughter Jordan and son Michael. Mrs Cannings, 42, of Cornwall, was freed in December 2003 when convictions for killing sons Jason and Matthew were quashed. She confronted Prof Meadow, of Leeds, as he walked into the GMC hearing, shouting: “Any apologies for the families Professor Meadow – for the families you destroyed?” Mrs Anthony, 31, of Somerset, said: “It’s too little, too late. All I have ever wanted was a public apology and for him to recognize he may have got it wrong in quite a lot of cases.”As well as trials, the professor gave evidence in family court cases. While many accuse him of ruining lives when children were taken into care, child abuse experts applaud his work.