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Parents cleared of shaking their baby to death call for hospital probe


Rohan Wray and Chana Al-Alas. Photo: PA

Rohan Wray and Chana Al-Alas. Photo: PA

Rohan Wray and Chana Al-Alas. Photo: PA

A YOUNG couple cleared of murdering their baby son have called for an inquiry into two hospitals responsible for his care, it was reported today.

Rohan Wray, 22, and Chana Al-Alas, 19, of London, were accused of abusing four-month-old Jayden, who suffered a fractured skull and died of brain damage in 2009.

However it was only after the death that doctors discovered the youngster was suffering from severe rickets, a disease caused by vitamin-D deficiency that causes bones to become soft.

The couple, of Islington, north London said that the Great Ormond Street and University College hospitals should have diagnosed the problem earlier and blamed them for their son's death.

They told BBC Radio 4's Today programme they believed Jayden would still be alive had his condition been correctly diagnosed.

Mr Wray, 22, said he was asked by staff at University College Hospital how his baby's injuries had occurred.

"I said apart from him rolling over in his cot and hitting his head on the side of the bars I can't think of any other explanation because we haven't dropped him, nothing's dropped on him," he said.

"The look from them was that simply they didn't believe my explanation."

Ms Al-Alas, 19, said they were prevented from seeing Jayden after he was transferred to Great Ormond Street and later learnt the hospital had spent four hours getting his injuries scanned.

Describing the past two years as "horrible", Mr Wray added: "I really feel that they didn't really know what they were doing and they just pre-judged us way too early.

"You should actually be treated as innocent until proven guilty and not guilty until proven innocent."

Last December the couple walked free from the Old Bailey after being cleared of killing Jayden.

But they later faced allegations over the child's death in the civil family courts from the local authority in whose care their daughter Jayda had been since her birth in October 2010, at a time her parents had been charged with the murder of her brother.

The case brought by the London Borough of Islington was that Jayden "died as a result of inflicted trauma caused to him whilst in the care of the parents".

It was further alleged that he suffered "a number of fractures that, despite having rickets, were caused by non-accidental injury".

However, in a judgment made public yesterday, Mrs Justice Theis, sitting at the High Court's Family Division in London, ruled that the allegations made against them had not been proved.

Care proceedings in relation to Jayda were dismissed and she was returned to live with her parents.

During the criminal trial the Old Bailey heard that Jayden died from brain damage and swelling but nearly 60 medical, professional and expert witnesses were unable to agree on the cause.

The prosecution said the brain damage could only have been caused by the trauma of Jayden having been shaken or his head having been hit against something.

But the defence said it was only after the baby's death that it was discovered he had rickets caused by a vitamin D deficiency. This would have caused him to have weak bones, including a weak skull, and could have caused a series of fractures.

In her ruling, Mrs Justice Theis said it was accepted that Jayden had congenital rickets and announced that she could not be satisfied "on the balance of probabilities" that any of the fractures or the "traumatised fissure" were "as a result of inflicted deliberate harm caused to Jayden by either of these parents".

Jenny Wiltshire, Ms Al-Alas's solicitor, told BBC Breakfast: "Well I hope that lessons will be learned and hospitals will try to be a bit more open-minded and investigate every single possibility before pointing the finger."