Another mother convicted of killing her children following evidence given by paediatrician Sir Roy Meadow has had her conviction quashed.
The Court of Appeal held that 31-year-old Donna Anthony could be released from jail after serving six years of a life sentence, after finding the evidence that convicted her to be “significantly undermined”. Anthony is the third woman to be freed from prison in these circumstances, following Angela Cannings and Sally Clark.
Sitting in the Appeal Court with Mrs Justice Hallett and Mr Justice Leveson, Lord Justice Judge said: “In essence the essential thrust of the Crown’s case against the appellant at trial has been significantly undermined. In the circumstances, we are persuaded that the convictions are unsafe and should be quashed.”
He added that the jury were right at the time to find Anthony guilty in the face of the evidence presented to them and that: “The Crown did not invite us to order a new trial and, not without some hesitation, we have decided not to do so.”
Anthony was jailed in 1998 for the killing of her 11-month-old and four-month-old children. Her case was one of 28 convictions put up for review by the Attorney General after the Cannings’ verdict was overturned last year.
Donna Anthony, by Ken Norman (MOJUK)
“Tormented Donna Anthony, 25, smothered 11-month-old Jordan and four-month-old Michael then feigned anguish,” the jury was told. “Frantically she tried to revive them after taking them to the very edge of the line that divides life and death.”
Sally Clark doctor wins GMC case
Professor Sir Roy Meadow has won his High Court appeal against the General Medical Council’s decision to strike him off the medical register.
GMC finds Clark professor guilty
The General Medical Council has found Professor Sir Roy Meadow guilty of giving erroneous and misleading evidence in the Sally Clark case.
Sir Roy Meadow struck off by GMC
Sir Roy had stood by his evidence, but admitted his use of statistics at Mrs Clark’s 1999 trial was “insensitive”.
Anthony latest mother to be freed
Donna Anthony’s is the latest in a series of well-publicised cases regarding infant deaths.
She lost her babies, then spent seven years in jail before being cleared of their murders. But Donna Anthony says she’ll always be seen as a child-killer
On occasions, Donna Anthony still finds herself sitting in the bedroom of her cosy home waiting for someone to unlock the door and let her out. ‘I used to do it all the time at first,’ she recalls. ‘It took me ages to get used to the fact that I could just walk out of my own free will.’
Q&A: Donna Anthony case
Alison Holt, BBC social affairs correspondent, looks at what happened and what lies ahead for the 31-year-old walking free after six years in jail.