Shamed doctor 'destroyed my family's lives'

Professor David Southall, the now disgraced paediatrician who wrongly accused a father of murdering his two baby sons, should be struck off, said a woman whose daughter was placed in foster care because of false accusations of abuse.

Professor Southall was found guilty on Friday of serious professional misconduct after falsely accusing Stephen Clark, 42, of murdering his children, Christopher and Harry.

Professor Southall, 56, made his allegations after watching a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary about the case in 2000. Mr Clark's wife, Sally, had initially been convicted of murder, but her conviction was quashed last year.

Yesterday Justine Durkin, whose own complaint against Professor Southall will be heard by the General Medical Council (GMC) in January, called for the consultant paediatrician to be struck off.

"He destroyed mine and my family's lives," she told Radio 4's Today programme. "He accused me of having Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy, which was unfounded. But it took 11 months to get that far, and during that time the children were in care."

Professor Southall made his diagnosis of MSBP - where the sufferer harms their own child in order to draw attention to themselves - after Ms Durkin took her daughter Rosie to see him in 1993 at North Staffordshire Hospital.

Rosie, then aged one, had developed a cough that led to breathing problems. Unknown to Ms Durkin, Professor Southall wrote in his notes "Mother - MSBP?" and she was sent home with a monitoring device.

A few weeks later she was told her daughter had a serious heart disorder and would need 24-hour monitoring. But this was a ruse to secretly video Ms Durkin, 34, to see if she tried to harm her child. Mother and daughter were placed in a ward for five days, and Rosie was ordered to remain on the bed for 24 hours a day.

"They were under the impression I was smothering her," Ms Durkin said. "Of course, the video didn't show anything of the sort. It showed me and my daughter in a room for five days, getting extremely fraught with the situation we were put in."

Ms Durkin was still accused of having MSBP and was wrongly accused of punching Rosie in the face. She was cleared of the charges, but not before Rosie was taken into care and her son, Joe, then three, went to live with his father, who Ms Durkin had separated from.

Her husband was granted custody of both children and Ms Durkin was initially only allowed supervised visits for two hours a week. The conditions were eventually relaxed, and a year ago Rosie decided to move back with her mother, although Joe decided to stay where he is.

Ms Durkin's complaint is one of a further six against the doctor, who was banned from working on child protection cases for three years. "Obviously we'd all like him struck off," Ms Durkin said. "If people are caught doing these things the standards of evidence should be irrefutable."

After Friday's hearing Professor Southall's solicitor, Margaret Taylor, said outside the GMC building in Manchester: "Although disappointed that the committee has applied conditions to his registration, Professor Southall sincerely hopes that the decision will not deter other paediatricians from continuing to act in the particularly difficult area of child protection and speaking out when they suspect a child has been abused."

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments