A Birmingham mum convicted of killing her two
children was today given fresh hope of clearing her name following
the release of cot-death mother Sally Clark.
It emerged that child abuse expert Professor
Roy Meadow - whose evidence in the Clark case was today hanging in
tatters - also helped convict Aston mum Julie Ferris. His evidence
was discredited at the Court of Appeal yesterday before Mrs Clark
walked free from court after her three year ordeal behind bars.
The successful appeal has now cast doubt on the
reliability on the evidence Prof Meadow gave at 32-year-old Julie's
case, and that of three other Midland mothers.
Julie's family has been fighting to clear her
name since her release on bail last May pending a fresh hearing into
her case. Their campaign was today backed by the Shadow Health
Minister Caroline Spelman (Con, Meriden).
"I have considered cases dealt with by
Prof Meadow. I will now write to the families concerned to see if
they want their cases reopened in light of the ruling," she
Julie had been detained indefinitely under the
Mental Health Act in June 2000 after being convicted of smothering
daughter Hayley and son Brandon.
Prof Meadow said in evidence there were clear 'markers'of
childabuseinthe deaths of nine-month-old Hayley, aged nine months,
who died in 1993, and Brandon, eight months, who died in 1997.
But because the court ruled she had a mental
age of six, Julie, from Charles Road in Aston, was not allowed to
enter a plea or go into the witness box to defend herself.
She always denied the manslaughter charges and
her supporters claim the babies could have been victims of the
little-known condition Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy.
Julie's fight for justice could now receive the
personal backing of Mrs Clark who today vowed to fight for others
still suffering a similar fate.
Mrs Clark, a solicitor, said her ordeal had
been a "living hell" after she was wrongly jailed for
killing her two babies. The Court of Appeal ruled her convictions
for murdering the babies were unsafe.