Devon

Devon couple win children care order fight

A couple accused of cruelty by social workers have resisted an attempt to have their children taken into care.

A High Court judge refused to grant care orders for a twin girl and boy aged two and a boy aged 13 months.

Mr Justice Baker said the couple, who cannot be identified but are in their 30s and come from Devon, were "simply dotty" about their children.

He suggested that the injuries to the children, all of whom had fractures, could have been accidental.

The judge published his decision in a written ruling after hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in Exeter.

Fragile bones

Devon County Council was alerted by staff at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital in Exeter in 2011 after the girl collapsed and was then found to have a subdural haemorrhage and fractures.

Her twin brother was found to have subdural haemorrhages and nine rib fractures.

Less than a month later the younger boy was admitted to hospital with skull fractures and a subdural haemorrhage.

Following that incident local authority bosses started legal action with a view to removing all three children from their parents' care.

The judge said an "important feature" of the case was that each parent suffered from a "range of medical conditions" which could have been transferred to the children and had "an impact on bone fragility".

And he said apart from the injuries there was not a "scintilla of criticism" of the way the couple had cared for the children.

"The picture that emerges... is that these are doting parents who are devoted to the children and provide them with a very high level of care," he said.

"Put simply, this couple are simply dotty about their children.

"Although it is not impossible that such parents could have inflicted injuries in a momentary loss of control, it would in my view be surprising."

He added: "I accept that I may be wrong. I do not criticise the local authority for bringing these proceedings."

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