CSI DDS | Forensic Science Testimony. CSI bad science issues and their contribution to wrongful convictions.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Part Fourteen: Think Dirty; Donna Anthony; The Consequences; Even Her Husband Believed She was Guilty;
"I NEVER CONVICTED DONNA ORIGINALLY. I ONLY THOUGHT THAT SHE HAD KILLED THE CHILDREN BECAUSE SHE WAS PROVEN GUILTY.
DEAN ANTHONY (DONNA ANTHONY'S HUSBAND) IN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE WESTERN DAILY PRESS)";
"YOU GET THESE POLICE OFFICERS, THESE DOCTORS SAYING THAT SHE HAD BEEN MOLESTED, SHE HAD BEEN STRANGLED. THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE THE PROTECTORS OF SOCIETY AND ALL THIS STUFF. SO, YES, I BELIEVE SHE WAS. BUT I KNEW IT WASN'T ME."
WILLIAM MULLINS-JOHNSON TO THE ONTARIO COURT OF APPEAL;
I was horrified to read, in this exclusive interview, that Donna Anthony's husband actually believed his wife must be guilty of killing their two sons because the jury had found her guilty. (See previous posts: Think Dirty: Donna Anthony) Parts Thirteen and Fourteen;)
I immediately thought of William Mullins-Johnson's testimony at the Ontario Court of Appeal to the effect that he believed Valin had been molested and then strangled - when we now know, years later - that his niece had died a natural death.
Asked by his lawyer (James Lockyer) if he thought that Valin had been molested and murdered, Mullins-Johnson replied: "You get these police officers, these doctors saying that she had been molested, she had been strangled. They're supposed to be the protectors of society and all this stuff. So, yes, I believe she was. But I knew it wasn't me."
Worse, Mullins Johnson told the Court that the murder charge had disastrous implications within his family - as it turned brother against brother.
"It split my family," he testified. "It had my brother thinking that I had killed his little girl. It had me thinking that my brother had killed his little girl."
As will be seen from the interview, these cases are graphic examples of the hellish implications of "thinking dirty" when investigating the deaths of infants.
"The former husband of convicted child-killer Donna Anthony last night said that the pain of losing his two little angels had never ended," the story began.
"As Anthony, who has always insisted she was innocent, won the right to appeal against her conviction, her former husband spoke exclusively to the Western Daily Press," it continued.
"Last night, Dean Anthony, 36, said his thoughts were always with his "two little angels", daughter Jordan, who died aged 11-and-a-half months, on February 1, 1996, and son Michael, who died aged four-and-a-half months the following March.
Donna Anthony, 31, of Yeovil, Somerset, was jailed for life in 1998 at Bristol Crown Court for murdering Jordan and Michael.
The case against her relied on evidence from the now-discredited paediatrician Professor Sir Roy Meadow.
Anthony always claimed both children were victims of cot death, but her original appeal in June 2000 was dismissed.
However, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) yesterday gave her cause for hope.
It said it was sending her case back to the Court of Appeal after considering "new expert medical evidence".
Sir Roy Meadow had argued that one sudden infant death in a family is a tragedy, two are suspicious and three are murder unless proved otherwise.
His theory was that some mothers killed their babies to draw attention to themselves, a condition dubbed Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy.
But in January last year appeal judges dismissed his evidence in the case of Angela Cannings, from Wiltshire, who was jailed for life in 2002 for murdering her two baby sons.
Mrs Cannings, a shop assistant from Salisbury, saw her conviction quashed and, in the wake of her ruling, 297 other files were reviewed. Anthony's was among those given top priority.
Mr Anthony said: "There's not a moment I don't think about the children. You are always brought up to think your children will bury you. When you lose two, you think 'what's the point of living?'.
I never convicted Donna originally. I only thought that she had killed the children because she was proven guilty.
"Now if it is proven that the evidence that was given is incorrect then she has as much right as Angela Cannings to be released and to start a new life.
"Donna was like any other mum. Admittedly she suffered from the baby blues, but so do countless others.
"As far as I am concerned she took good care of the children, they were never without anything. I was away working a lot and I was not there when it happened.
"We were separated when Michael died, but I was shocked when Donna was arrested.
"At the beginning I would have liked to have asked her why, but all the way through Donna has insisted that she is innocent.
"They are saying now that Michael may have died of a chest infection -which would make one question whether Yeovil Hospital was negligent.
"Jordan was just at the stage of crawling and saying a couple of words when she died. I haven't experienced life with children more than a year old."
Mr Anthony, who is now single, added: "I would like to have more children, but that's in God's hands. It is a question of finding someone that I can tell about this and who will stand by me no matter what happens.
"The anniversary of Jordan's death was just yesterday. You can tell people what you are going through but you can't get comfort from that when you are crying in the night."
He said that if Donna wins the appeal he would only be in contact over family matters. "I was not allowed to contact her and I have no feelings for her," he added.
Anthony's solicitor George Hawks said: "I am very pleased for Donna, although it is only the beginning of the process, not the end.
"I don't expect she will be going overboard - I am sure she will be as relieved as I am, but she will recognise that we still have a major hurdle coming up with the appeal."
Anthony will be eligible to apply for bail, but last night no firm decision had been made on the matter."