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Couple launch bid to clear their names

PUBLISHED: 15:24 02 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:54 13 July 2010

A Norfolk couple who had three of their children forcibly adopted in the shadow of abuse allegations will launch legal action in the next few days to clear their names and to potentially get their children back.

A Norfolk couple who had three of their children forcibly adopted in the shadow of abuse allegations will launch legal action in the next few days to clear their names and to potentially get their children back.

Mark and Nicky Webster and their supporters have long claimed the allegations, dating back to 2004, are false. Last year the Websters, from Cromer, won a battle to keep their fourth child, Brandon, who is aged 21 months.

But their other three children, known only as A, B and C to protect their identities, remain with other families after their adoption orders were finalised in 2005.

The chances of the children ever returning home to the Websters appear unclear as adoption legislation prevents orders being overturned.

But the first stage of the process, to clear their names, is the initial and apparently achievable goal of the Websters.

“You can't go through life being labelled as a child abuser when you are not,” said Mr Webster.

“We want to get our names cleared and that is the first stage of the process.

“Of course getting the children back is the dream, everybody's dream, not only ours but also our supporters. But that is up to a judge.

“What I can say is that lots of people have said to us 'don't stop fighting'.”

Mrs Webster said she wanted her children to know that their parents “did nothing wrong”.

The Websters' case appeared to change dramatically last July when a court heard that an expert witness had changed his mind about how one of their three children had suffered broken bones. An initial assessment that it was because of force had been changed to an acceptance that vitamin deficiency fuelled by a poor diet could have been to blame.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said he completely supported the Websters' attempts to clear their name.

“It is of fundamental importance they are given the opportunity to do so,” said Mr Lamb.

“In my opinion the case should be conceded by Norfolk County Council because it cannot be defended. Considering the state of the evidence as it stands, there should not be a stain against these people's names.”

Lisa Christensen, the council's director of children's services said: “We cannot comment at this stage except to say that our main concern has always been for the welfare of all the children in this case.”

The Websters legal team have told them the process will be done in three stages and backed by legal aid.

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