Salt case 'may mean more appeals'

Relates to:
Date: 2006-04-12
Source: BBC

Ian and Angela Gay's successful appeal against a conviction for killing their foster son could lead to appeals from other parents, a medical expert says.

Mr and Mrs Gay were jailed in January 2005 for the manslaughter of three-year-old Christian Blewitt, who they were said to have force-fed salt.

Their conviction was quashed on Wednesday and they now face a retrial.

Professor Ashley Grossman, of Barts Hospital, thinks their appeal success could see other cases re-examined.

But he said he expected it to be a handful of cases, not a "flood".

Christian died after being found unconscious at the couple's house in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, in December 2002.

Mr and Mrs Gay, now of Halesowen in the West Midlands, were both jailed for five years after being found guilty of the boy's manslaughter.

Appeal lawyers argued Christian had a rare medical condition, a form of diabetes which led to high salt levels.

The case of Sally Clark, who successfully appealed against her conviction for killing her two sons on the basis the boys had both been cot death victims, led to a series of appeals from women convicted in similar circumstances.

Professor Grossman, an expert in neuro-endocrinology, said the verdict in the Gays' appeal was also likely to lead to examination of other cases of people convicted of killing children who had died with high levels of salt in their system.

He said: "It may allow for some of the prior cases to be revisited.

"I don't think we are going to be dealing with hundreds, in the style of the cot deaths.

"I think there will be a small number, it would not be a flood."

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