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5,000 care cases may be reopened in cot death probe

THOUSANDS of parents whose children were taken into care because of fears they may harm them could have their cases re-opened as part of a Government review into cot death murder convictions.

Solicitor General Harriet Harman and the country's most senior family judge, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, are to meet Margaret Hodge, Minister for Children, to consider an examination of an estimated 5,000 care cases that may have been decided in error.

Yesterday's announcement follows a decision to investigate the convictions of 258 women for murdering their babies over the past 10 years.

The inquiry was prompted by a Court of Appeal ruling that parents should not be prosecuted over the sudden unexplained death of a child in cases where cot death was a possibility.

Giving their reasons on Monday for overturning the conviction of Angela Cannings (40) for murdering her two baby sons, the judges said medical science was "still at the frontiers of knowledge" about unexplained infant deaths.

Yesterday Ms Harman told the House of Commons that it was not known how many parents had lost their children as a result of civil care proceedings. (© Independent News Service)