Deaths Blamed on Parents: A Global Problem


Cases are emerging all around the world where parents, relatives and caregivers have been blamed for the deaths of children that later turn out to have another cause, often natural. This often means that surviving children lose one or both parents.

One of the best websites is which documents several cases of unfounded and biased testimony by coroners, pediatricians, pathologists and other ‘experts’. In Canada, these include more than forty cases of unexplained deaths of children in which Dr. Charles Smith, an Ontario pathologist, performed autopsies or gave evidence. In several cases he ‘misplaced’ evidence that could have been used to exonerate the accused, several of which were charged with murder or other serious crimes, and some spent years in jail before being released. Dr. Joel Yelland, a Saskatoon doctor has been sued for negligence in the case of twelve people wrongly accused of sexual and ritualistic abuse of children in the early 1990s.

In England Dr. Roy Meadow was once considered an expert on unexplained child deaths and child abuse, but in 2005 he was struck from the medical register for his role in the wrongful jailing of several parents. Also discredited is ‘Meadow’s Law’ that two child deaths in one family is suspicious and three are murder. One of the best documented cases is of Sally Clark who lost two children to SIDS, and then was convicted of murder in 1999 and spent several years in jail, before a successful appeal in 2003. One of the factors in her conviction was Meadow’s testimony that two SIDS deaths in one family had a probability of one-in-73 million (other experts, including statisticians, later testified the risk is only one-in-200 when all factors are considered). Another factor in the conviction was that pathologist Alan Williams failed to disclose key medical evidence. A recent article in England’s Spectator magazine by Neville Hodgkinson describes this tragic case.