Parents to appeal over diabetes death

A COUPLE given prison sentences for allegedly refusing their diabetic daughter insulin are to appeal on the grounds that failures by doctors and social workers contributed to her death.

Lawyers for Dwight and Beverley Harris lodged an appeal last week as a campaign to clear them gathered momentum. They have always denied they prevented their daughter Nahkira, nine, from taking insulin and say that a series of mistakes by professionals was responsible.

The couple were convicted of manslaughter last month after Nottingham Crown Court was told they rejected insulin treatment in favour of homoeopathic remedies. But in interviews with the Independent, Mrs Harris, who was given an 18-month suspended sentence, said neither she nor her husband objected to insulin.

Problems arose when the parents argued with a member of staff at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, when there were difficulties over appointments, and when hospital and social services workers wrongly assumed that they had run away.

The family had been staying with friends because their electricity had been cut off, and when no further hospital appointments were made, Mrs Harris and her husband, who is serving two and a half years in Lincoln jail, resorted to a homoeopathic remedy. Nakhira died six weeks later.

John Harrison, their solicitor at Green D'Sa in Leicester, said: 'I don't believe the Harrises were deliberately negligent in their care of Nahkira, but even if they were, there was a statutory obligation for the hospital staff, the family's GP and the social services department to apply for an emergency protection order under the Children Act. If they had done that, the child would be alive now. It seems the parents have been used as scapegoats for a series of failures on the part of institutions.'

The girl nobody saved, page 17