I have been saddened and moved over the weekend by the news of the death of Sally Clark, a woman wrongly accused of killing her two children and released from prison in 2003. There have been too many cases recently of people, and in particular parents who have been subjected the terrible experience of a miscarriage of justice. For any parent, and I would say a mother in particular the death of your child is the worst thing you can imagine happening. When my son was new born I could hardly bear to think of such an event, and found the fact he was born during a time of war (the first gulf war) disturbing enough. How then do you cope with the loss of 2 children and then being accused of murder because a medical expert says it is nigh on impossible that 2 children could die of cot death in the same family.
Once people are accused of a crime, there is an assumption by many that the person is guilty, they are vilified in the press and are often badly treated within their own communities and in prison. At lunchtime today as I traveled to a meeting, I heard a radio discussion on this matter. Angela Cannings another wrongly convicted mother spoke of her own struggles since release and of the lack of support people receive. Movingly she spoke of her daughter’s struggle to cope with the consequences of being separated from her mum at a young age and her husbands mental health problems.
As a nation we are quick to apportion blame. People seem reluctant to accept responsibility for their actions and that includes helping people like Sally and Angela. Yesterday was mother’s day here in the UK, I was surrounded by my own family, visiting my own mum with my brothers and their families and spending a pleasant day. But for one family, for one child there was no mum to give a card, present and kisses to. For them their lives changed when Sally Clark was wrongly accused.