Why Did Sally Clark Suffer And Die?

There are probably very few people in Britain who are unaffected by the death of Sally Clark, a young mother whose two young children died suddenly and, if that were not enough for her to cope with, was then charged and convicted of killing them and was imprisoned for three years before reason and logic finally prevailed.

Some have already said that Sally died of a broken heart and there is probably a great deal of truth in that, whilst others are pointing accusing fingers at the individuals who gave evidence against her and who are now seen as contributory agents in her death.

Probably the nearest to the truth is that Sally was killed by an entire system which is deeply-flawed, erratic, and dysfunctional. That system is the British child protection system and the associated legal and police systems.

Us and Them

The individuals within this system begin with the belief that they are in an ‘Us and Them’ situation, ‘Us’ being those who are a part of the system and ‘Them’ being the entire British public. Those running the system comfort each other and try to convince the rest of the population by claiming there is a vast amount of undetected child abuse happening within our society, despite the facts and statistics showing otherwise. They see themselves as ‘Child Savers’ who must remove all children where there is suspected abuse and place them forever in the homes of strangers. Their natural families are stripped of all rights and responsibilities for their children, often because of highly questionable accusations of a single act of abuse.

There are extremists in the system who have strong influence over the belief system and convince others that unproven and scientifically fraudulent theories of child abuse have some form of professional merit, and that facts of child abuse don’t matter when placed against opinions of expert figures in the medical and social work professions.

Collusion and Reaction

Although it has been shown in many instances that the agencies involved in the child protection system have failed abysmally in working together, they are highly collusory when they make a prey of an innocent parent who they can bully, browbeat, and bulldoze into submission. Confirmatory bias abounds where one individual in one agency can exert enormous influence and pressure on others to conform to their beliefs in abuse, and very often with little or no factual evidence to support their contentions and suppositions. Some Judges have become a part of this collusory and collaboratory part of the system and readily ‘rubber stamp’ the beliefs of the system, ignoring the need for facts to prove guilt.

The system suspects and accuses anyone and everyone and even their own but for the most part pick on the weak and defenceless parents, especially those who have no ready access to legal advice and representation or the interventions of the media. It was a significant turning point in the Cleveland Scandal in 1987 when doctors and social workers began to involve middle-class families who had access to lawyers, the media, and a Member of Parliament.

Sally Clark was herself a lawyer and it could be argued was herself part of the system and perhaps this was their greatest mistake in picking on one of their own – someone who could fight back with all the strength at her disposal and a family to support her entirely and with their own considerable influence.

However, even Sally and her powerful legal team and supporters were defeated by the aplomb, the hubris, and the Courtroom expertise of the expert medical witnesses, despite their evidence being seriously flawed, the important medical evidence of a serious infection and the probable adverse effects of vaccines being the most likely causes of the children’s deaths. Such factual evidence, though, was withheld or was not sufficiently explored.

Individuals within the system have an obsessive belief that they are always right and cannot accept when they are wrong or have done wrong even when it is totally proven. Then they find someone else to blame or say,  “Just get on with your lives” and forget about it. That was their attitude towards the injustices they inflicted on Sally Clark and her family.

Pain and Anger

Sally Clark is dead. But for hundreds, possibly thousands, of children and their parents the pain and devastation of their lives goes on, condemned and stigmatised by an erratic and self-serving system and, for many, never to see each other again. For these parents, unlike Sally, their children are gone too, but are still alive, living somewhere with strangers and they are haunted by memories and an aching in the heart. They look at every child in the shopping mall and wonder, “She is the same age as my daughter would be – could it be?.”.  “Is that a familiar smile?”

The pain goes on and on. Shed your tears for Sally Clark but also shed tears for the hundreds of Mums and Dads who continue to live with their pain and suffering.

But most of all, let your anger rise and focus on the politicians who are ignoring what is happening in Britain in their names and our names where families are being destroyed daily and children are suffering even greater abuse by a system which supposedly is there to protect them.

Charles Pragnell is an Expert Witness and Child Protection and Child/Family Advocate.

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