BBC News Online
[Original BBC article ]
Thursday, 24 May, 2001
Tribunal suspends jailed solicitor
In a highly unusual move, a solicitor serving life for murdering her two baby sons has not been struck
[off the roll of solicitors]
by the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal.
The tribunal decided not to impose its ultimate sanction on Sally Clark but has suspended her indefinitely from legal work.
Tribunal members had watched a video-taped appeal, recorded in prison, in which Clark maintained her innocence.
I have lost nearly everything, none of it my own doing
She denied killing 11-week-old Christopher and Harry, aged eight weeks, and told of the "minute-by-minute torture of life imprisonment".
Clark was given two life sentences at Chester Crown Court in November 1999 for the murders at the home she shared with her lawyer husband Stephen in South Oak Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire.
She insisted that Christopher, who died in December 1996, and Harry, who died in January 1998, were victims of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Sids), known as cot death.
The corporate lawyer has already lost an appeal to the Court of Appeal and was refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords.
She is now planning an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
During her video-taped appeal Clark said she felt "utter despair and anguish" after the children died.
"The pain and the sense of loss were enormous and we struggled to make sense of it all," she said.
"As if that were not bad enough I was then arrested and eventually charged with having killed them. I went through two years of hell awaiting trial.
"I felt let down by a justice system that I had always believed in and always worked hard to uphold.
"I was in a state of shock and disbelief. And yet, as I sit here before you today having had time to reflect, I have absolute faith that our system of justice will work in the end and will prove my innocence."
She told how a third son, who is nearly two-and-a-half, was now the "light of my life" together with her husband.
She said she was inspired to join the legal profession by her father, a senior police officer, and becoming a solicitor was the "proudest day of my life".
Appealing to the tribunal not to strike her off, she said: "Anyone who knows me knows how much being a solicitor means to me.
We will not rest until Sally is free and back where she belongs - with me and our little boy
"I have lost nearly everything, none of it my own doing. I would ask you not to take away one of the few remaining positive things that I have left, other than my husband and son.
"Being a solicitor is such an important part of my life that losing my membership of the profession would be like losing a part of myself."
Tribunal chairman Anthony Gibson said Clark would be suspended indefinitely from practising as a solicitor, adding that it was not intended to be punitive but the reputation of the profession had to be protected.
Clark's father, Frank Lockyer, 71, said the decision would give her "great hope" and a "boost to her morale".
Stephen Clark said in a statement after the hearing: "We will not rest until Sally is free and back where she belongs - with me and our little boy who is at a stage now when he really needs his mum."
Related to this story:
Mother given life for baby murders
(26 Nov 99 | UK)
Verdict reawakens cot death debate
(09 Nov 99 | Health)
Baby killer was 'lonely drunk'
(09 Nov 99 | UK)
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