Couple told they cannot have their children back after being wrongfully accused of abuse to take court battle to Europe
By Tom Kelly
Last updated at 3:54 PM on 12th February 2009
A couple forced to give up three children for adoption despite a judge ruling they may have been wrongly accused of abuse yesterday vowed to take their legal fight to Europe.
Mark and Nicky Webster said they will never give up the battle to win back their daughter and two sons after the Appeal Court ruled this week that it was 'too late' for the family to be reunited.
The couple have not seen the children, now aged nine, seven and five, since they were put up for adoption four years ago.
Mrs Webster, from Cromer in Norfolk, said: 'We promised right from the very beginning that we were going to fight on no matter what.
'That has not changed, despite all the disappointments we have suffered.
'We need to discuss with our lawyers exactly where we stand but we will do whatever we can.
'If that means going to House of Lords or all the way to the European courts then that's what we will do.
'I've never stopped thinking about my children and I never will.'
The couple's nightmare started in October 2003 when Mrs Webster took their second son to hospital with a swollen leg.
He was found to have a number of small fractures which doctors said could be caused only by physical abuse.
The following year they were permanently removed and put up for adoption after a one-day court hearing.
Medical experts later concluded that the injuries were not caused by violent twisting and shaking, but were symptoms of rare case of scurvy.
Mr Webster, 35, and his 27-year-old wife fled to Ireland in 2006 to stop their fourth child, Brandon, being taken into care at birth.
The Appeal Court ruled on Wednesday that even though the Websters 'may well' have been victims of a miscarriage of justice the adoption order on their eldest three children could not be revoked because the youngsters are now settled with their adoptive parents.
Mrs Webster, who is pregnant with a fifth child due in April, said: 'The judgement has left a lot of unanswered questions.
'On the one hand they are saying it's in our favour and they fully understand why we're doing what we're doing.
'But on the other hand they're saying they can't help us.
'I'm also disappointed that they haven't cleared our names.
'The judges only skimmed the surface. They haven't dug deeper.
'You see cases on the news about people harming their children. It's beyond belief that we were put in a similar pigeon hole to that.'
Helen Broughton, an adoption law specialist from Morecrofts Solicitors, said the case highlighted the 'chronic weaknesses' in the Family Justice System.
'A tragic situation like this has almost certainly happened before and sadly it will very likely happen again,' she said.
'There is a serious shortage of resources. Medical experts are expensive and courts are only required to provide one for each adoption case, which allows no room for error.
'Had there been a second medical opinion when concerns were first raised about this couple this whole very sad situation would almost certainly have been avoided.'
But she warned that the Websters would face a very tough battle to overturn the adoption order in either the House of Lords or the European Court of Justice.
'The courts may rule that they have been wronged, but they are extremely unlikely to reverse the adoption order, because in almost all cases adoption is final.'
Update: The Websters have again been denied their children by the courts. Read about it here.