Sally Clark

Sally Clark 1964-2007

Sally Clark

Sally Clark Court of Appeal hearing

- Background briefing for the media

Sally Clark

38, solicitor, wife of Stephen, mother of a four year old son.

Falsely accused of murdering her first two babies, separated from her surviving child ever since his birth four years ago, has always professed her innocence, despite considerable pressure to 'confess' in prison. Refused to accept a plea of manslaughter, even though it would have meant a non-custodial sentence, and chose to plead not guilty to murder, despite the prospect of life in prison, because she knew she was innocent and could never admit to something she had not done. Still maintains her unswerving belief that the judicial system will eventually provide justice.

Kay LJ
Hallett J
Holland J

The appeal team:

Clare Montgomery QC Matrix Chambers, called 1980, silk 1996, specialist in criminal law, former Junior Treasury Counsel, one of the practitioner editors of Archold Criminal Practice. Described as the 'cleverest of the clever', 'widely recognised as the sharpest intellectual barrister at the criminal bar'.

Jim Gregory, Barrister Lincoln House Chambers, Manchester, called 1970, recommended as a criminal law counsel.

Mike Mackey, Solicitor Managing partner, Burton Copeland, Manchester. Described as a recognised market leader, with a long established recognition as one of the leading practitioners of criminal law.

John Batt, solicitor and consultant to the defence team Former senior partner of Batt Holden, Wimbledon, now consultant to the firm. Originally instructed to take a watching brief by old friend, Frank Lockyer, Sally's father. Has worked for the last three years virtually full time assembling research materials and investigating, worldwide the whole area of unexplained infant death.

The support team:

Stephen Clark, solicitor and Sally's husband
Partner in a City law firm, has worked tirelessly alongside the defence team to clear his wife's name, bringing up their surviving son, age 4.

Frank Lockyer, retired Divisional Commander of South Wiltshire police force and Sally's father.
Has campaigned tirelessly for his daughter's release and the overturn of her conviction.

Sue Stapely, solicitor and media relations consultant
Independent communications consultant and former head of public relations for the Law Society, has been helping the Clark family for the past two years pro bono by co-ordinating media interest in Sally's case.

David MacKay, Cambridge University academic and statistician
Set up and maintains Sally's website, pro bono.

Prosecution team:

Robin Spencer QC 9 - 12 Bell Yard Chambers, and Sedan House, Chester, called 1978, silk 1999.

Michael Chambers Junior counsel.

Crown Prosecution Service
Barry Hughes - Chief Crown Prosecutor

Key points of appeal:

See Skeleton Argument available from 28th January

When referring Mrs Clark's case back to the Court of Appeal as a miscarriage of justice, the Criminal Cases Review Commission said that the jury had been 'gravely misled' by Dr Williams' answers to their questions, because, when the microbiology report was finally discovered by accident in Harry's previously undisclosed medical notes, by Mrs Clark's family two and a half years after Harry's death, and they passed it to Professor Morris, he said that the report showed that Harry died from natural causes: a bacterial infection. 'No other cause of death can be sustained', he said.

The sudden unexpected death of an infant from bacterial/septic shock is well recognised internationally. Reports from 10 other experts support this cause of death in Harry Clark.

Mrs Clark was convicted by a 10-2 majority after two days of deliberations by the jury.

On 24th May 2001 the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal, in an unprecedented and extraordinary move, decided not to strike Sally off the Roll of Solicitors, having heard the astonishing story of the medical contradictions and unbelievable change on the first day of trial of the whole basis of the murder charge of the second baby. A video recorded by Sally in prison, outlining her unshakeable belief that her babies had died from natural causes and that she was not responsible for their deaths was part of a compelling case before the tribunal. From this time an increasing number of legal and medical professionals, from all round the world, have shared the Clark family's and friends' certainty that Sally is a victim of a dreadful miscarriage of justice.

In July 2002 the Criminal Cases Review Commission received new evidence submitted by the defence team demonstrating that Harry had died from natural causes, based on a microbiology report which showed he was suffering from a bacterial infection which would inevitably have been fatal. This report, made months before the trial was not made available to the court or any of the experts except Dr Williams; this in spite of the fact that the jury asked twice if tests had been carried out on Harry for natural causes of death.

[ NOT FOR PUBLICATION, JUST FOR INFORMATION: ] Now 12 highly qualified specialist doctors say that this report contains convincing medical evidence that Harry died of natural causes. A number of those experts also believe that Christopher, the first baby, did not die at the hands of his mother; but the lapse of time and inadequate pathology means that they cannot be as certain of the precise cause of Christopher's death as they are in the case of Harry. Extraordinarily, Christopher was suffering from the same bacterial infection as Harry at the time of his death, but apparently to a lesser extent. As the first cause of death of Christopher was originally given as natural causes there was no point in carrying out the full investigation that might have revealed that Christopher died the same death as his brother Harry.

Some facts about unexplained infant deaths:

Every day in the UK a baby dies from unexplained causes - a cot death.

Every week a family that already lost one baby loses a second baby to natural causes.

Before the "Back to Sleep Campaign" (which Anne Diamond backed) encouraged mothers to put babies to sleep on their backs, about 30 babies died from unexplained causes each week.

The Clark Family has been contacted by more than 40 families around the UK where cot deaths have struck more than once. Largely because of the statistic misused in Sally's trial, many mothers of cot death babies are concerned that they too may be charged with murder.

CESDI carried out the largest single study of cot deaths ever undertaken worldwide (published Feb 2000); studied 460,000 births over 3 years in 3 different areas of UK. This government-sponsored study recorded 323 cot deaths of which 5 were second cot deaths in the same family, a ratio of 1:64.

Having had 1 cot death, the chance of having a second is the same as the chance of winning 10 on the lottery.

Using the methodology of the discredited statistic the probability of a mother murdering 2 of her own children is 1:2,200,000,0000

All media enquiries to: Sue Stapely


[See also the earlier press release by Sally's family and friends, July 2002]

Site last modified Wed Oct 12 09:58:06 BST 2011