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Cot death used to cover up abuse.

Babies killed by their parents are wrongly being described as cot death victims, a leading expert said yesterday. Prof Sir Roy Meadow said doctors and coroners were literally helping parent abusers get away with murder. Under pressure to resolve unexplained cases swiftly, they were resorting to diagnoses of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Sir Roy, a top child abuse expert from St James's University Hospital in Leeds, said glaring signs of abuse were being ignored. He wrote: "This syndrome has been used, at times, as a pathological diagnosis to evade awkward truths." His claim is based on records of 81 children over an 18-year period judged by British criminal and family courts to have been killed by their parents. In 49 cases the children had initially been certified as dying from SIDS. A further 29 were classified as dying from other natural causes. The mother was responsible for the death, usually smothering, in more than 80 per cent of cases. Five children were categorised as cot-death victims aged more than 12 months old - six months older than the usual upper limit for SIDS - and two had fractured ribs. Up to 27 children were found with suspicious blood on them and ten had unusual bruises.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 7, 1999
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