Sunday Mercury                                                                               June 15, 2003


Trupti Patel who lost three babies

LOSE one baby to cot death and it's a tragedy. Lose two and that's suspicious. Lose three and it's murder.

That's the piece of mumbo-jumbo that our system of justice has adopted in order to accuse wrongly at least two mothers of killing their children. Known as 'Meadow's Law', it is based on the opinion of Professor Sir Roy Meadow. It resulted in Sally Clark, who lost two babies, wrongly serving three years in prison before the Appeal Court accepted that the evidence put forward by the 'expert on child abuse' was 'manifestly wrong'.

Last week a jury in Reading Crown Court took just 90 minutes to dismiss his views and throw out the case against Trupti Patel, who sadly lost three babies.

The senior police officers who sanctioned the investigation of the Patel family's triple tragedy and the lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service never gave a thought to the nonsense that lies at the heart of Meadow's Law.

If a mother is vile enough to kill a child, is she likely to draw attention to her crime by killing a second in exactly the same way? And a third?

Anyone who did such a thing would surely be mentally unhinged and in need of

If the cops and the lawyers really did believe they were dealing with someone evil and stupid enough to kill three babies in this way then it must have been their duty to bring a case so watertight that the accused would have gone to jail for life.

Why did they once again call upon the 70-year-old 'expert' whose evidence had been so discredited?

Why did they not consult scientific and medical figures who would suggest a genetic cause for a succession of cot deaths in one family?

Whichever way you look at it, the Trupti case reveals massive incompetence. Those responsible must face their responsibility for the shameful waste of time and public money involved as well as the anguish inflicted on the accused.

Clearly there has to be a new Meadow's Law.

To accuse one grief-stricken mother wrongly of murder is a grave error.

To accuse two is an unforgivable outrage for which heads must roll.

The opportunity for Sir Roy Meadow to accuse a third must never occur.

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