I still believe Clark killed his children, says Southall

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

A professor of paediatrics who made his career in detecting cases of child abuse said yesterday he still believed that the husband of the cleared solicitor Sally Clark had murdered their two children.

A professor of paediatrics who made his career in detecting cases of child abuse said yesterday he still believed that the husband of the cleared solicitor Sally Clark had murdered their two children.

Professor David Southall told a hearing of the General Medical Council in Manchester yesterday that he had not changed his mind about the case since making the accusation against Steven Clark, 42, in April 2000 after watching a television documentary about the case.

He delivered his uncompromising defence on the fifth day of the GMC hearing, where he is charged with serious professional misconduct over the allegations. He neither retracted nor apologised for the allegations yesterday.

Richard Tyson, for the GMC, asked Professor Southall if he still believed that Mr Clark had killed both children. He replied, "Yes". Asked by Mr Tyson if he thought Mr Clark should be serving a life sentence, Professor Southall declined to comment. He said: "I'm not interested in the criminal side of things. It's not my place to be."

The paediatrician contacted police the day after watching the programme because he was concerned about the safety of the couple's third surviving child, who was then in Steven Clark's sole care.

At the time Sally Clark was serving a life sentence for the murders, imposed in 1999, and awaiting her first appeal. She was cleared of the killings after a second appeal and freed in January last year.

Professor Southall, 55, of North Staffordshire Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent, told detectives that Mr Clark's description in the documentary of a nosebleed suffered by his first son, Christopher, in a London hotel led him to believe that there had been a suffocation attempt. Sally Clark had been out shopping at the time. Christopher died nine days later in December 1996, aged 11 weeks. His brother Harry, born in November 1997, died at home in January in 1998, aged eight weeks.

Professor Southall said he talked to people involved in the original case and concluded in a report he wrote in August 2000 that it was extremely likely, if not certain, that Mr Clark must have suffocated Christopher.

When suspicions arose over Christopher's death it was blamed on Mrs Clark because Mr Clark had been at an office party on the night he died. Professor Southall said yesterday that in the light of the "new slant" he had brought to the case, he felt police should have re-examined Mr Clark's alibi.

The allegations were investigated but Mr Clark has never been charged with any offence.

Professor Southall denied he had acted irresponsibly: "On the contrary, if I had not done what I did I think that would have been a hidden abuse of my professional responsibility."

Professor Southall said his motivation for going to the police was concern that the Clarks' third child may be harmed. "The main overriding motivation was the fact that there was a third child in the family living with a person who I was very concerned might harm him. The real point was that the child was at risk."

The hearing continues.

Comments