A couple in their mid-20s whose baby was adopted after they were wrongfully accused of abuse have been told that they unlikely to have the child returned.
Karrissa Cox and Richard Carter, both aged 25, live in Guildford, Surrey. In 2012, they noticed bleeding in their baby’s mouth after feeding the infant, and went to the local A&E. Doctors found minor bruising and crucially, what appeared to bone fractures in the process of healing when the baby was X-rayed. The couple were arrested and charged with child cruelty.
Their baby, meanwhile, was taken into care and formally adopted against their wishes earlier this year. The couple were refused legal aid to fight their case.
But when the criminal charges against them finally came before a judge at Guildford Crown Court, Ms Cox and Mr Carter were acquitted. Previously unavailable medical evidence demonstrated that no abuse had in fact taken place. Their baby – whose gender cannot be revealed by court order – actually had a blood condition which causes abnormal bruising, along with a vitamin D deficiency and the resulting bone disorder rickets.
The couple now plan to campaign for the return of their child, The Independent reports. Karrissa Cox explained:
“We took our child to the hospital seeking help and they stole our baby from us.”
“I feel completely let down by the system, well and truly let down. It’s been a long three years trying to battle this and we’re going to fight to try to get our child back.”
The couple were allowed limited periods of supervised contact until last year. Ms Cox claims the toddler would call her and her partner Mummy and Daddy and was reluctant to leave at the end of the visits.
They are reluctant to have any further children. “It’s really put me off having more children in case this happens again,” said Ms Cox.
But the couple’s lawyers have warned the couple that they are unlikely to succeed because adoption is by definition intended to be a permanent event and is rarely overturned. Barrister Michael Turner QC told the Independent:
“These innocent parents have been spared a criminal conviction and a prison sentence for a crime they never committed. Their life sentence is that they are likely never to see their baby again.”
Defence lawyer Emma Fenn, meanwhile, described the case as “tragic” and an example of “the real dangers of the Government’s drive to increase adoption and speed up family proceedings at all costs”.
If their campaign ultimately fails the couple plan to lobby for a change in the law to try and prevent a similar fate befalling another family.