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Mother cleared of poisoning baby

Mother cleared of poisoning baby

Marianne Williams has been found not guilty of both the murder and manslaughter of her baby.

A young mother has spoken of her "flood of relief'' after being cleared of the murder of her 15-month-old son by poisoning him with salt.

A jury found 24-year-old Marianne Williams, of Wiltshire, not guilty of both the murder and manslaughter of Joshua Taylor following a six-week trial at Winchester Crown Court.

She was cleared of giving her seriously-ill son, who was born prematurely with failing kidneys, excessive amounts of sodium, leading to his death on February 27 2004.

Miss Williams stood trembling in the dock as the verdicts were read out and wiped away tears when she heard that she had been cleared of both charges.

Speaking outside court Miss Williams, with mascara on her face which had run because of her tears, said: "I keep having floods of relief going through me. I can't concentrate or even think about what has happened.''

Miss Williams added: "I'm just overwhelmed. It has been a long time coming.''

The verdict, which took the jury of six men and six women two-and-a-half hours to reach, was received with cheers by the defendant's family and friends in the public gallery.

Her legal representative Jacqui Cameron said in a statement on behalf of Miss Williams: "Marianne is naturally delighted with the verdict and extremely pleased that common sense has prevailed.

"We, as lawyers, however, are very concerned that the parents, usually mothers, are continuing to face the grave charge of murder in what can only be described, at best, as complex and, at worst, dubious evidence."

During the trial, the prosecution alleged that Miss Williams, who was on anti-depressants, killed her son because she felt she could not cope with caring for him. She had seen the consequences of too much sodium in his system earlier in February 2004, when the child was taken to hospital suffering from high salt levels, the trial was told.

The defence said Joshua died as a result of a combination of his medical condition and the drugs he was taking for his care.

Joshua was taken to Southampton General Hospital, Hants, on February 24, 2004, in a serious condition, the trial was told. Tests showed he had very high levels of sodium in his body and despite the efforts of doctors to save him, Joshua died three days later.

Miss Williams, originally from Wales, was 21 when Joshua died and in a long-term relationship with his father Paul Taylor. Joshua was born 12 weeks prematurely by Caesarean on November 26, 2002. His twin had died in the womb.

Joshua weighed 2lb 10oz (1.2kg) at birth and had a number of medical problems, including very small kidneys. The trial heard that because Joshua's kidneys were failing, they would expel too much sodium.

He was given daily dosages of sodium chloride to replenish his salt levels, which was necessary for a "healthy existence'' and "healthy growth".

27th October 2006, 22:17
Page updated 5th Oct 2015, 13:25
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