Sally Clark

Sally Clark 1964-2007

Sally Clark

Statement by Stephen Clark, August 2004

After the GMC's investigation of his complaint against Professor Southall

'It is a sad day when a doctor is dragged before his professional body, is found guilty of serious professional misconduct and has sanctions imposed upon him.

As a professional, myself, I take no satisfaction from it.

However, as a father, the sole purpose of bringing my complaint, four long years ago, was to try to ensure that no other innocent parent is ever again falsely accused of harming their children.

I hope that the Committee's finding of serious professional misconduct against Professor Southall, and the imposition of conditions preventing him from working in the child protection field for 3 years will send a strong message to him (and to any other, like-minded doctors) that irresponsible and reckless allegations of child abuse against innocent parents are simply not acceptable and will no longer be tolerated. I am also, of course, relieved that at last my complaints have been upheld and I have been fully exonerated from any blame.

There are seven more complaints of serious professional misconduct against Professor Southall pending before the Professional Conduct Committee. They all relate to worse behaviour by him than in my case, and I hope that the parents who made these complaints receive the justice which they deserve from the GMC.'

Please note that neither Sally, nor I, will be granting any interviews in connection with the GMC's investigation into Professor Southall, but that we remain grateful for the support of the media, who were vital in overturning Sally's convictions.



In April, 2000 Steve Clark appeared in a Channel 4 Despatches programme, which expressed doubts about the safety of his wife, Sally's, convictions 5 months earlier for murdering their two eldest children.

Professor Southall watched the programme, and then contacted the police, saying that he believed that it was Steve, not Sally, who was responsible for the deaths of their babies. At the time he made these false allegations against Steve, Southall was suspended by his Trust, and had agreed with them not to carry out any child protection work without permission.

Even though he had not sought the Trust's permission to contact the police in the Clark's case, he proceeded to prepare a report in which he stated that it was extremely likely, if not certain, that Steve had suffocated his first son, that his surviving son was unsafe in his father's care and implied that Steve was responsible for the deaths of his two eldest children.

He reached these remarkable conclusions without having any involvement in the case, without having met Steve and without having seen any of the medical or other evidence which was produced at trial. He based his conclusions upon a theory of his about nosebleeds in babies which he wrongly presented as fact, and which flew in the face of the reality that Steve was not even at home on the night that his first son died.

His report contained no caveats to this effect, and contained a declaration that its contents were true, whereas it contained matters of truth of which he could not have known, or did not know. He subsequently wrote to a colleague, Professor David, who had been asked by social services to investigate his concerns, that it was "beyond reasonable doubt" that Steve had murdered both of his children.

Steve's circumstances

Professor Southall's intervention came at a time when, after difficult proceedings in the Family Court, Steve had only just regained custody of his surviving child from Care, and was trying to bring him up on his own, as a single father, in the stressful circumstances leading up to his wife, Sally's, first appeal.

It caused Steve and his family severe additional anguish and anxiety, because they knew that, if Southall's view was accepted by others, it could have meant, not only that Steve might be arrested on suspicion of murder, but also that his surviving child might be taken away from Steve again.

Steve was totally exonerated, after a full investigation

Fortunately, the resultant lengthy investigation by Professor David and Social Services totally exonerated Steve, and dismissed Professor Southall's allegations as being entirely unfounded.

Steve's complaint

In July, 2000 Steve complained to the GMC about Professor Southall's actions, and asked them to investigate them as a matter of urgency. But it took four years before the GMC ordered a hearing.

When it was finally held in Manchester this June in front of the GMC's Professional Conduct Committee, Professor Southall showed no contrition. He appeared to believe that he had done nothing wrong, and even had the effrontery to repeat his false allegations that he believed Steve had murdered both of his children.

However, the Committee disagreed with Southall, and found that his behaviour had been precipitate, irresponsible, misleading and an abuse of his professional position.

Serious Professional Misconduct

Today, the Committee has found that Southall's behaviour also constituted serious professional misconduct, and has ordered that he be have conditions placed on his registration and be prevented from working in the field of child protection for 3 years.

No publicity

Steve has never sought publicity about this particular aspect of the miscarriage of justice visited upon his family by the medical profession. Nor does he intend to do so now, regardless of the financial incentives which he has again been offered.

Consequently, Steve does not propose to give any interviews to the media, and would ask that the Press allow him and his wife to try to rebuild their lives in peace.


Steve and his family were disappointed by some of the Press coverage of the hearing in June, when Professor Southall's false allegations against him were aired by some elements of the media without challenge, as if they might even have some validity.

For the record, none of those professionals who had the opportunity to consider all of the evidence in the case are prepared to give any credence whatsoever to Professor Southall's views - the police, CPS, social services, upwards of 20 other medical experts, the Family Court, the CCRC and two Courts of Appeal. all totally exonerated Steve.

But some of this misleading Press coverage caused deep distress to the Clark family, and has adversely affected Steve's employment prospects, at a time when the Government's refusal to reimburse £130,000 of the Clark's legal costs which were awarded by the Court of Appeal has already put the family in a precarious financial position.

Thus, Steve would ask the media please not to repeat Professor Southall's defamatory claims again, without appropriate caveats.

He would, however, like to thank the large number of journalists who did get it right, and who have supported him throughout.

Contact details for information, but no media interview bids, please:

Sue Stapely: 020 7233 9444

Site last modified Wed Oct 12 09:58:06 BST 2011