‘Abuse’ couple win fight to keep their baby

Media present at dramatic end to controversial family case

The couple in the high-profile care case of Norfolk County Council v Webster learned today that they can keep their fourth child. The Council is dropping its case to take the boy, Brandon, into care.


Mr and Mrs Webster’s first 3 children, known as A, B and C, were all taken into care and later adopted, as a result of findings made by HH Judge Barham that the couple had physically abused one of those children. When their fourth child, Brandon, was born he too became the subject of care proceedings by the local authority. The Websters maintained that they had never abused any of their children, and sought to challenge the findings in the earlier case as a miscarriage of justice. Reports about the case appeared in the media, anonymising the Websters.


In a landmark judgment last November, Mr Justice Munby ruled that the Websters and Brandon could be named, and that the media should be allowed to attend the care proceedings – normally heard behind closed doors. So journalists were there this week to hear the council announce that it was dropping the case. Several experts had concluded that the bone fractures detected in Child B were due to vitamin deficiency, not violence. The council was satisfied that the Websters could care for Brandon.


The Websters have been refused permission to re-open the earlier case, involving A, B and C, but their Counsel told the court this week that they intended to appeal on that issue, to clear their names of the findings against them.


5RB’s Mark Warby QC and Adam Wolanski acted for Associated Newspapers and the BBC in the original proceedings.