[They killed her children with vaccines then blamed her. A typical story with Shaken baby Syndrome as well.]
May all those who drove Sally to this hang their heads in
By GEOFFREY WANSELL -
Last updated at 00:12am on 17th March 2007
The brutal truth is Sally Clark was killed by the law as surely as if she
had been sentenced to the gallows in the days of the death penalty. No
civilised society should allow itself to tolerate such behaviour towards a
mother whose only crime was to love her children - and do everything in her
power to protect them.
Sally Clark's death is a grotesque stain on the British legal system, the
Cheshire police and the medical establishment: and they should never be
allowed to forget it.
It not only makes me unbearably sad, it makes me desperately angry. For
there was no need for her to suffer in the first place - nor to pay the
ultimate price for that suffering.
As the writer who campaigned ceaselessly in this newspaper for her release
from prison for crimes that she patently could never have committed I know
only too well the terrifying, dreadful toll that her conviction took upon
her and those closest to her.
For it was not just Sally herself who was affected by the judgment that she
was a murderer. It was also her solicitor husband Steve, her father Frank
Lockyer, a retired police superintendent, and her sole surviving son - who
as a toddler saw her only in a prison cell and then welcomed home a woman
whom he barely knew.
That little boy will now have to grow up without a mother, sustained by a
father who will never recover from his wife's death. Stephen Clark will once
again, just as he did throughout her three years and three months in prison,
have to do his best to keep his family together.
For me these are crimes for which someone should be held responsible - but,
of course, they will not. Not the judge who didn't tell the jury to ignore
the utterly wrong, and terribly damaging statistical evidence that the
chances of two infant deaths in a single family were 73 million to one.
And not that distinguished paediatrician Sir Roy Meadow, whose "law"
suggested that one infant death in a single family was a tragedy, two were
suspicious and three were clearly murder. I hope Sir Roy finds it extremely
difficult to sleep in his bed tonight, for there is no doubt in my mind that
he, and the other medical experts who urged the world to "think dirty" when
it came to the death of infant children, killed this woman who wanted
nothing more than to become a mother.
In January 2003, I stood beside her on the steps of the Royal Courts of
Justice after she was granted her freedom by the Court of Appeal. The
once-hopeful, slightly chubby blonde had been turned into a wraith by her
trial, her imprisonment, and the battle to see her released and justice
With Stephen's arm around her shoulder she looked grey, the lines etched
deeply into a face that looked a decade older than her years. It was all the
more of a tragedy because she had been destroyed by British justice. No one
could give her back the years she'd spent in prison and no one could give
her back her sons, Christopher and Harry, who died at just 12 and eight
That winter's afternoon I watched her husband with his head in his hands,
and her father with tears running down his cheeks in joy and relief - hoping
against hope that she would be able to recover.
As she left the court to disappear from the limelight for ever and "get a
bit of peace" - as her husband said to me when he squeezed my hand as he
left - I fervently hoped that she might be able to recover.
But life after such a trauma has proved too much for this only child of a
loving senior police officer who doted on her every move, and a husband who
never for a single moment stopped fighting for her and supporting her, even
in the darkest hours after her first appeal to the High Court was turned
They were two of the most upright and respectable men you could hope to
meet - and they never wavered for one instant from their conviction that
Sally had been the victim of a terrible miscarriage of justice. I agreed
In 40 years of reporting I have never felt so sorry for anyone I have
written about, nor more strongly about any single case and I wanted to do
everything I could to help her regain her freedom and clear her name.
To lose not one but two baby sons is bad enough, but then to be convicted of
their murder is beyond belief. The prosecution and the police had suggested
that she hadn't wanted to lose her glamorous lifestyle - didn't they
consider that an abortion, rather than murder, might have been more
straightforward? No they did not.
Did they consider that the daughter of a policeman, a practising solicitor,
might take great pains to cover her tracks if indeed she had decided to kill
her sons? No they did not.
Did no one at the Crown Prosecution Service care to consider that their
medical evidence might be open to more than one interpretation? No, they did
Those decisions cost Sally Clark her freedom - and now they have cost her
May every single person who perpetrated them hang their heads in shame. They
have traduced the values of a society that should pride itself in compassion
On that January afternoon in 2003, when the campaign for her exoneration
finally succeeded, I hoped that perhaps, just perhaps, the terrible wounds
that she had suffered might heal: that Sally might be able to forget the
women screaming at her in prison that she was a "child killer", to forget
the four Christmases away from her son and her husband; to forget that the
society, and the law, in which she had put such faith, had let her down.
As the weeks turned into months, however, I began to hear that she was
finding life desperately difficult. Sally had never seen the house her
husband took her back to that January afternoon - they had been forced to
sell their Cheshire home to pay the legal fees - and he had moved to London.
She had barely spent a single day with her surviving son, who truly knew
only his "daddy" and always asked where he was in the first weeks that they
spent together, and she could barely bring herself to set foot outside the
door for fear of being recognised.
Sally took to wearing a baseball cap, and scrunching her hair up beneath it
to avoid even the slightest chance that someone in the supermarket might
say: "You're Sally Clark, aren't you?" She didn't wish to be a campaigner,
she didn't want to be a celebrity. Indeed she turned down endless lucrative
offers to give television interviews, to tell her story to the press.
Neither did she want to become a spokesman for mothers whose infants die
sudden and unexpected deaths. She wanted the one thing that she could not
have - her "old life back".
This once happy-go-lucky young woman - whom the Cheshire police
disgracefully described in private to some newspapers after her initial
conviction as "a bit of a drinker" - wanted only to return to what she had
always longed for: life as a wife and mother, with a career that might
sustain her when she could find time for it.
Though her husband and her father never said it, as the months passed, it
became ever clearer that Sally was never going to be the same cheery,
charming young woman with her whole life and new family in front of her,
that she had once so longed to be.
Tragically, that young life is now at an end - brought there by a judicial
system and a medical establishment that should have protected her, not
Sally Clark will never be forgotten - not by those who loved her, as her
family did, or respected and admired her, as I did - but also by the
thousands of mothers in decades to come who may be accused of killing their
infant children by medical experts and prosecutors who think it is important
that we should "think dirty" if babies die.
That thought offers no real consolation to Sally Clark's son, nor to her
husband, her father and her stepmother, how could it? But it offers just the
smallest hope that her tragic death will not have been entirely in vain.