Court will confirm baby decision today

RICHARD BATSON Parents Mark and Nicky Webster will today get official confirmation they can keep their baby son, after a long battle focusing on their child care.

RICHARD BATSON

Mark and Nicky Webster will today get official confirmation that they can keep their baby son after a long battle focusing on their child care - and they have confirmed that they will take the fight to clear their names of child abuse to the Court of Appeal, so all their children know the truth.

Three of the Cromer couple's children were adopted after the authorities produced evidence of harm, including one child who suffered broken bones.

However a hearing to decide the fate of 13-month-old Brandon this week heard that some of the medical evidence was being called into question. It included an expert changing his mind and conceding that the child's fractures could have been accidental rather than intentional because the youngster was suffering from bones weakened by a vitamin deficiency.

As a result of that switch of opinion, and the Websters' parenting passing close assessment, Norfolk County Council is dropping care proceedings over the baby - which will be confirmed in a short judgment by Mr Justice Holman at the High Court in London today.

Yesterday he heard, from the counsel for the adoptive parents of two of the children, that having the details of the case "played out in front of the media" had been "deeply distressing" for them.

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There could be more to come however, with the Websters confirming that while they would not challenge the earlier adoptions, they aimed to ask the appeal court for a re-hearing.

Their counsel Ian Peddie said "they want to correct the wrong they perceive was done by the making of the care order." It would "remove the stigma" of being wrongly accused.

"They want to clear their names, not so much for them, but for the children," he added.

Mr Webster, 34, and his 26-year-old wife, who live in Mill Road, Cromer, fled to Ireland for Brandon's birth to prevent him being taken into care because of what happened to their other children.

Adoption orders on the older children were made in December 2005 in light of a finding by a Norwich County Court judge that one or other, or both, of the parents had injured one of the children.

The council now accepts Brandon is being very well cared for by his parents and should stay with them. And it says it is no longer relying on the expert medical evidence which led to the adoptions.

Some experts now believe multiple fractures suffered by one of the children were the result of undiagnosed scurvy, the vitamin C deficiency disease, and not by physical abuse.

The judge said he had intended to give a view on whether the adoptions were justified having heard 2½ days of fresh evidence. But now the issues were going to appeal he was not "going out on something of a limb".

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