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Infant death specialist tells court of disorders.

The sudden deaths of a mother's three babies were likely to have been caused by an acute metabolic disorder and not suffocation, a leading expert in sudden infant death told a court yesterday.

Professor Peter Fleming, who has been awarded the CBE for his research into infant death, said all the evidence suggested that Trupti Patel's two sons Amar and Jamie and her daughter Mia, had died because their bodies could not metabolise properly and they became very ill, while appearing to be well.

He told the trial at Reading Crown Court he could find 'no clear evidence' to suggest that any of Patel's three babies had been smothered or deliberately suffocated.

'I can find no convincing evidence that the deaths were caused by applied or imposed injury,' he said.

'I can find considerable evidence that points in the direction of a metabolic disorder, which is compatible with the picture that occurred in all three cases.

'The most likely explanation is that these children died as a consequence of a metabolic disorder.'

Patel (35) a qualified pharmacist, denies murdering her three babies. All three collapsed suddenly in separate incidents at the Patel family home in Maidenhead, Berkshire, between 1997 and 2001 and later died.

Prof Fleming told the hearing that in 20 years of investigating sudden infant death, he had seen three other families in which there had been three unexplained deaths of babies.

He said the fact that three of Patel's children had died did not support the proposition that they must have been smothered.

Prof Fleming told the court that it was extremely difficult even for medical experts to detect acute metabolic disorders and he said that a child may appear to be well right up to the time of their collapse.

The trial continues.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 5, 2003
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