There are so many layers in this story: false accusations of child abuse that actually had their root in bad medical advice, adopted children who have had three years to adapt to another family, a bureaucracy run amok. It all adds up to awful:
A judge yesterday ruled that a couple will never see three of their children again even though he accepted they may have been wrongly accused of abusing them.
Mark and Nicky Webster’s three eldest children were taken into care in 2004 after doctors claimed that six tiny fractures found on the middle child had been inflicted deliberately. All three were adopted.
Yesterday, in a failed attempt to have the adoption order overturned, the couple were told that even though they could be victims of a miscarriage of justice it was ‘too late’ for them to be reunited with their daughter and two sons.
In a devastating ruling, the judge said that as the youngsters are now settled with their adoptive families they would have to stay there – even though the original decision to take them away could have been wrong.
Last night, Mr Webster told the Daily Mail: ‘I am very disappointed and hurt that we’ve been let down again. I haven’t read the judgment yet so I can’t comment on all the details but I do find it extraordinary that the judges say that there may have been a miscarriage of justice but still can’t do anything about it.’
The couple’s ordeal began in October 2003 when Mrs Webster took their second son to hospital with a painful, swollen leg.
He was found to have a number of small fractures which doctors said could be caused only by physical abuse.
All three children were placed in foster care and six months later, in a one-day court hearing, the children were permanently removed and swiftly offered for adoption.
Medical experts later concluded that the injuries were not caused by violent twisting and shaking, but were symptomsof scurvy. This now-rare deficiency is believed to have been caused by the family GP’s advice that the child should be fed on soya milk, which is lacking in vitamin C.
You can read here the rest of this appalling story out of England.