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Parents cleared of 4 month old’s death ask for inquiry

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A couple who were falsely accused of murdering their four-month-old son called on Friday for an inquiry into two hospitals that treated him, saying they believe that quicker action by medics might have saved the child’s life.

Rohan Wray, 22, and Chana Al-Alas, 19, were accused of killing baby Jayden after he was found to have suffered multiple fractures.

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But after he died, doctors discovered he suffered from rickets, which weakens the bones.

The couple were cleared in December of killing Jayden but had to fight a further legal battle to win back their second child who spent the first 17 months of her life in care because of the suspicion hanging over her parents.

They were absent from their son’s side when he died and were also banned from seeing each other during the court case over his death, while their daughter Jayda was taken from her mother immediately after she was born in 2010.

Wray told the BBC in an interview that the two hospitals, University College Hospital and Great Ormond Street, were at fault.

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“I really feel that they didn’t really know what they were doing and they just pre-judged us way too early.

“You should actually be treated as innocent until proven guilty and not guilty until proven innocent,” he said.

Al-Alas said they believed that four hours spent carrying out scans on Jayden could have been better used.

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“He wasn’t being treated then. They didn’t know his brain readings — they wasn’t checking that — they was just concentrating on getting the right pictures and he could’ve been treated then as well.”

A spokesman for the trust that runs Great Ormond Street said in a statement: “Our priority when Jayden arrived in the hospital was to try to save his life. Sadly we were unable to do this.

“This is a very long judgement looking at a very unusual case, where the medical evidence is complex and contested. It is clear to us from the judgement that this was an atypical case where abnormalities were much less visible on the radiology, than were shown by the post mortem.”

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The trust added that it had not been responsible for keeping Jayden’s parents away from him or blaming any specific person for his injuries, while it disputed that there had been any four-hour delay while Jayden was in Great Ormond Street’s care.

A University College Hospital spokesman told the BBC its staff “acted with Jayden’s interests at heart”.

“We regret that we were unable to reverse his deteriorating condition despite our intensive efforts in the short time he stayed with us. We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Jayden’s parents,” he said.

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The couple, both teenagers when their son was born, were acquitted at the Old Bailey after evidence that Jayden suffered from a vitamin D deficiency, which weakens the bones and could have led to the fractures.

The London Borough of Islington brought a case in the civil courts arguing that Jayden “died as a result of inflicted trauma caused to him whilst in the care of the parents”.

But Mrs Justice Theis at the High Court’s family division ruled in a judgement made public Friday that those claims had not been proved. Care proceedings in their daughter’s case were halted and she has now returned to live with her parents.

[Photo of statue of justice via AFP]

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