Monday 26 January 2004

By Amy Taylor, Natasha Salari, Clare Jerrom and Alex

Ministers told child harm theory was

Ministers were warned that the theory of Munchausen Syndrome By
Proxy (MSBP) was responsible for serious miscarriages of justice as
far back as 1996, according to new documents seen by ‘The
An investigation has uncovered a catalogue of errors surrounding
MSBP, including the failure by both Tony Blair and Jack Straw to
investigate the claims of a leading child psychologist and former
government adviser, who wrote to them warning that she was aware of
several cases in which parents had been wrongly separated from
their children because of MSBP.
A government inquiry into fabricated child illnesses also failed to
interview sceptics of Sir Roy Meadow’s controversial theory
of MSBP. The inquiry went on to publish a guide to MSBP for local
authorities that has subsequently been described as “deeply
Source:- The Observer Sunday 25 January page 1
Hodge ‘ignored’ warning on family-wrecking

The children’s minister Margaret Hodge and the solicitor
general Harriet Harman were warned more than three years ago about
a scandal in the family courts of children being wrongfully removed
from their families.
Jan Loxley, a former government adviser on childcare, wrote to both
Hodge and Harman telling them that families were being destroyed
because of false accusations of child abuse based on theories
expounded by Sir Roy Meadow.
Source:- The Sunday Times 25 January page 2.
Taxpayers help fund handouts for asylum seekers… in

A charity funded by the government is giving out food and clothing
to asylum seekers trying to enter Britain.
The Home Office has granted nearly £40,000 of taxpayers’
money to Kent Refugee Action Network (Kran), which supplies
provisions to illegal immigrants sleeping on the streets of
Source:- The Mail on Sunday 25 January page 36
UK not soft on asylum, say MPs
Britain is not a “soft touch” for asylum seekers, an
all-party MPs’ inquiry has concluded.
The report from the House of Commons home affairs committee found
that nearly half of the asylum seekers, who come to Britain were
fleeing conflict rather than poverty.
The group highlighted a number of “weaknesses” in the
asylum system, in particular the “poor quality of much
initial decision-making on asylum claims”.
They also rejected radical options such as locking up all asylum
seekers or transferring them all to an offshore processing system
such as an island, saying they were too costly and failed to deal
with the problem of illegal entrants.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 26 January page 2
Childcare rises to 25% of income
The cost of a nursery place is continuing to rise faster than
inflation and has reached  nearly a quarter of average household
income, according to a report from the charity the Daycare
The national survey of childcare costs in England discovered that
the average price of a nursery place for a child under two is
£134 a week, five per cent more than last year and compared
with an average household income of £562 a week.
Source:- The Guardian Monday 26 January page 7
Weekend jails open for low-risk offenders
New weekend jails will open this week at Kirkham prison in Preston
and Morton Hall prison in Lincoln.
Offenders will spend either weekends or weekdays in prison and the
rest of the week in the community under the supervision of
probation officers.
The sentence is aimed at offenders who are not judged to be a high
Source:- The Independent Monday 26 January page 4
Serious failings found at suicide prison
A prison where six women committed suicide within a year was found
to have serious failings, according to new report.
Five of the women died at the induction wing of Styal Prison in
Cheshire, which was  described as “isolating and forbidding”.
Styal was also found to have inadequate mental health
Source:- The Independent Saturday 24 January page 6
Cot deaths expert accused of disliking women
A retired medical expert whose work is being investigated after his
involvement in recent miscarriage of justices involving cot death,
has been accused of disliking women.
Professor Roy Meadow was also accused of making wrong assumptions
about women’s criminal behaviour.
Meadow was criticised by Angela Cannings, one of the women wrongly
jailed for killing her children on the basis of his evidence, and
by his first wife Gillian Paterson.
Source:- The Independent Saturday 24 January page 7
NSPCC fears a ‘charter for child killers’
Parents who abuse or murder their children could be found innocent
incorrectly due to the controversy surrounding the cot death cases,
children’s charities have warned.
Angela Cannings was cleared of killing two of her children at the
High Court two weeks ago.  Professor Roy Meadow was the expert
witness in her case but his evidence has now been called into
Charities fear that in light of the Cannings case child abuse cases
could become impossible to prove or to prosecute.
Source:- The Independent on Sunday 25 January page 5
‘I feel robbed. I thought I’d die in there’
Out of Broadmoor after 25 years, playwright Jane Cresswell is still
battling with  psychiatrists
Source:- The Independent on Sunday 25 January page 19
Infanticide is justifiable in some cases, says ethics

A senior adviser on medical ethics has said that infanticide is
“justifiable” in some cases.
When asked what moral status he gave an embryo Professor John
Harris, a member of the British Medical Association’s ethics
committee, suggested that there was no moral difference between
abortion and killing a baby. “I don’t think infanticide is always
unjustifiable. I don’t think it is plausible to think that
there is any moral change that occurs during the journey down the
birth canal,” he said.
Harris made the comments in a debate on sex selection, which was
held as part of the Commons Science and Technology Committee’s
consultation on human reproductive technologies.
Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 25 January page 8
Sir Roy Meadow forced me to choose between my husband and
my son

A woman who saw the father of her children condemned on the
evidence of the man who invented Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy,
tells Olga Craig of her hopes for the government’s review of baby
death cases
Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 25 January page 17
Scottish newspapers
Care homes cure for city bed-blocking

Edinburgh council and the NHS are to build four new care homes
costing £20 million in the city in a bid to wipe out
bed-blocking in hospitals.
The move should allow recuperating patients to leave hospital
earlier and free up beds, and will speed up treatment in hospitals
for thousands of patients who have to wait for beds to become
Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 24 January
Executive first for ex-Edinburgh housing

Former Edinburgh housing official Angiolina Foster has been named
as the new chief executive of the Scottish Executive agency in
charge of housing and regeneration, Communities Scotland.
Source:- The Scotsman Saturday 24 January
African infections take Scots HIV to record

The number of people recently arriving in Glasgow from Africa
either as asylum seekers or immigrants has increased the level of
HIV cases in the city to an all-time high.
Health chiefs are deliberately failing to collect and publish data
on the record increase for fear that it will fuel prejudice towards
groups of people coming from areas of Africa which are currently
rife with HIV.
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 25 January
Revealed: One in 10 Scots claim sickness

Almost 10 per cent of the working population in Scotland are
claiming sick benefits, according to official government
Almost 300,000 people of working age in Scotland are now claiming
incapacity benefit, a figure which puts Scots well above the UK
The worst affected area is Glasgow where one in five are claiming
the benefit.
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 25 January
£5m care home plan to tackle

The first of four new care homes designed to end bed-blocking in
Scotland is set to open by the end of next year.
Sites in Edinburgh have been identified for two of the new homes,
with the council planning to build the first in Lochend Park and
the second on the site of a former primary school in
Source:- Scotland on Sunday 25 January
Investigation as violent acts in schools soar past

Figures due to be published this week are likely to show that the
number of violent incidents against school staff is more than 6,000
for the first time.
Education minister Peter Peacock is set to launch an investigation
aimed at finding out whether disruption in schools is becoming more
violent and widespread.
Source:- Sunday Herald Sunday 25 January
Scots families wrongly accused of abuse
At least 12 parents in Scotland have been accused of having the
discredited condition Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, and as
a result 19 children have been taken into care.
The figures will fuel calls for the Scottish executive to hold a
public inquiry on children taken into care amid fears that hundreds
of mothers have been wrongly accused of child abuse or
Scottish lawyers are urging a complete overhaul of the child
protection system following concerns about the use of expert
witnesses who have diagnosed parents with Munchausen’s
syndrome by proxy.
Source:- The Scotsman Monday 26 January
Asylum seekers to share student flats
Teenage asylum seekers will be housed alongside students under
proposals by a Scottish council.
Under the Glasgow Council and Campus Ltd scheme, 87 beds in a block
of student flats in Maryhill would be used to house asylum seekers.
Social work and other support staff would be based on the
Previously unaccompanied minors aged between 16 and 18 years have
been housed in bed and breakfast accommodation, residential homes
and YMCAs.
The project is aimed at reducing the social isolation felt by
teenagers and it is hoped it will help asylum seeking children to
integrate into society by living alongside people of a similar
Source:- The Herald Monday 26 January
Disabled man left stranded by airline ban
A disabled man was left stranded 300 miles from home after airport
staff refused to allow him to travel.
Barry Smith, who has cerebral palsy, was forced to return to
Scotland by train after eastJet staff told him he could not fly
back to Glasgow alone.
Smith was returning from a two-week holiday at a disabled centre
when he was left stranded at East Midlands airport.
Last night the airline acknowledged they had made a “huge
error”, and offered Smith and his mother free return flights
on any of the airline’s routes.
An easyJet spokesperson said they would use the case to put
together an improved policy for disabled travellers.
Source:- Daily Record Monday 26 January
Welsh newspapers
‘I refused to hit back so I was deemed

A half-page feature looking at the experience of a male victim of
domestic abuse. He explains the trauma and isolation of living with
domestic abuse and the lack of support for men who live with
violent partners.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 26 January page 2
Internet babies couple challenge Arnie
The Welsh couple who tried to buy twins over the internet are
taking on Arnold  Schwarzenegger in another adoption battle.
Judith and Alan Kilshaw are planning a £4 million lawsuit
because they claim that the babies that they unsuccessfully tried
to adopt were ‘sold’ twice by a California-based
Judith Kilshaw is also hoping to become a US citizen, and would
like to try to adopt again in the future.
Source:- Western Mail Monday 26 January page 2

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