An Expert's Finding Of Von Willebrand Disease Helps Clear Parents Of Abuse Though
They Are Told They May Not Be Reunited With Their Child
Karrissa Cox and Richard Carter said they would launch a legal battle to overturn the adoption of their child.. The couple were cleared of abuse more than three years after they took their six-week-old baby to hospital with bleeding in the mouth following a feed.
After Doctors noticed bruises and what were though to be fractures on the baby's body, the baby was taken into care and the couple were charged with child cruelty. Social services later found adoptive parents after a ruling of abuse by the family courts.
But the criminal case against Cox and Carter collapsed on Wednesday after they were found not guilty of child cruelty and neglect at Guildford crown court.
Defence experts discovered the child was suffering from Von Willebrand disease, a blood disorder that causes a person to bruise easily, as well as a vitamin D deficiency, which causes infantile rickets. An independent radiologist, commissioned by the prosecution, concluded that he doubted there were any fractures at all.
The couple's barrister, Michael Turner QC he presented expert evidence to the family court within a few moments of the final adoption order being made. He told the Today programme: "[The expert witness] said immediately not only are these not fractures, but this child has eight classical signs of infantile rickets. I served that report on the family court within moments of them making the final adoption order. Do they review it? No. They confirm the final adoption order.
Shadow justice secretary, Lord Falconer, said appealing against the decision of a family court from four years ago would present significant hurdles. The court would have to consider the consequences of uprooting the child after being raised for so long by other parents, he said.
However he noted that the parents had been in touch with the baby for up to 2 and a half years after the incident so an application may be successful.
Carter, a former soldier, added: "We will fight till our last breath. No parent should go through this, ever. This just rips your soul away from you. We wouldnâ€™t wish this on anyone."
Turner QC, said: "These innocent parents have been spared a criminal conviction and a prison sentence for a crime they never committed. Their life sentence is that they are likely never to see their baby again."
A spokesman for the Royal Surrey county hospital said "childrenâ€™s safety is paramount" to all staff but "extensive bruising in a non-independently mobile child is always a trigger for further questions to be asked".
In a statement, he added: "In this particular case, for the child's safety, the baby was admitted to the Royal Surrey on the day of presentation and full assessments were undertaken by senior doctors in paediatrics and radiology, one of whom was our named doctor for safeguarding. Based on these assessments, a referral was made to children's social care. No decision about a child's wellbeing is based on a single agency opinion. Decisions are made over time by health, police and childrenâ€™s social care and are based on a range of factors."