Parents Against Injustice
Mr Justice Baker ruled that even though the injuries looked suspicious, there was “not one scintilla” of evidence that their parents had deliberately inflicted them, other than the injuries themselves.
In an unusually frank admission, he told the court that he accepted he "may be wrong" and that the parents might have lost control and hurt them.
But he said had been swayed by seeing how evidently “besotted” they were and was convinced it was unlikely.
Instead, he said, the balance of evidence pointed to a rare combination of medical factors, including an inherited condition which can cause soft bones.
In a judgment handed down at the High Court in London, he set out how the children, a twin girl and boy aged two and a boy aged 13 months, from Devon, had suffered an array of including broken ribs and internal bleeding.
It was clear, from medical investigations that they had been caused on more than one occasion.
But, crucially, despite the severity of the injuries, there had never been any bruising or other external sign of abuse.
Staff at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital first raised the alarm in the summer of 2011 when the twin girl was brought in after collapsing and was found to have a subdural haemorrhage and fractures. Her twin brother was later also found to have haemorrhages and nine rib fractures.
Investigations began and care proceedings begun, although the twins were eventually sent to live with grandparents.
The twins’ younger brother was born in April 2012 ad was also later admitted to hospital with skull fractures and a subdural haemorrhage.
The judge said doctors had been right to raise the alarm and that social workers had been right to initiate care proceedings.
But, the more the parents’ complex medical history was investigated, the more it became clear that there might be an alternative explanation.
Even more significantly, he was struck by a mass of evidence of normal and happy family life which carried on during the 19-month investigation - including 19 albums of family photographs and a bulging scrapbook of children’s artwork.
“I bear in mind, of course, the importance of not reading too much into photographs, but I do consider that the albums produced by the parents, and the enormous art book proudly produced by the mother in the course of the evidence, are significant evidence demonstrating how much these parents love their children,” he said.
“They were, and are, besotted with them.”
He added: “It is an important part of the evidence in this case that, save for the injuries, there is not one scintilla of criticism of the way in which the mother and father have cared for these children."
He said it was clear in hundreds of smiley photographs that the children were happy and well cared for.
“Put simply, this couple are simply dotty about their children,” he said.
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