flesl.net paired story 2-8b (Sally Clark)

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Sally Clark

In 1996, when her first child, Christopher was born, Sally Clark was living in Wilmslow, a town in northern England near the city of Manchester. Both she and her husband, Stephen, were successful lawyers. Sally was born and grew up in the south of England. In 1988, after graduating from university, she went to work in London. She met Steve there, and they got married in 1990. In 1993, they moved north to Manchester. They felt that there they would be able to afford a house that would be big enough to raise a family in. They found good jobs and, in 1995, they bought a luxurious house in Wilmslow.

Their first child, Christopher, was born in September, 1996. When he was twelve weeks old, his parents took him to London to show him to their friends. While they were there, Christopher had a bad nosebleed. When the family returned to Wilmslow, Sally told her doctor what had happened, and he told her not to worry about it.

A few days later, on December 13, Stephen was having a Christmas dinner with his colleagues. Sally was at home with Christopher. She fed him at 7:30 and then put him to bed. Then, around 9:15, she went to have a cup of tea. When she returned, ten minutes later, Christopher had turned grey. She immediately phoned for help. An ambulance arrived two minutes later. The medics tried to resuscitate Christopher, but he was dead.

As usual, when an apparently healthy baby suddenly dies, a post-mortem examination was done. The examination was done by Dr Alan Williams, a government pathologist. He concluded that Christopher had died of a lung infection. Dr Williams took some “samples” of parts of Christopher’s body and preserved them.

After Christopher’s death, Sally was depressed. She was also lonely because she still missed her friends and family in southern England. Sometimes, to escape her unhappiness, she drank too much liquor. And she started going to a psychiatrist.

Sally and Stephen’s second son, Harry, was born in November, 1997. He was three weeks premature but he was strong. On January 26, 1998, when Harry was eight weeks old, Sally went shopping in the morning and took Harry with her. In the afternoon, she took him to the doctor for some vaccinations. Sally had a check-up too. The doctor who examined her later said that she had found no problems and that Sally had been cheerful.

That evening, around 8:00, Steve was in the kitchen getting some food ready for Harry. Suddenly he heard Sally screaming upstairs. Harry had collapsed in his bouncy chair and turned blue. Sally phoned for help. Steve tried frantically to resuscitate Harry. The ambulance arrived nine minutes later, but it was too late. Harry was dead.