Angela Cannings was wrongfully convicted in the UK in 2002 of the murder of her seven-week-old son, Jason, who died in 1991, and of her 18-week-old son Matthew, who died in 1999. Cannings' first child, Gemma, died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in 1989 at the age of 13 weeks. Cannings' conviction, based on claims that she had smothered the children, was overturned as unsafe by the Court of Appeal in December 2003. Cannings was convicted after the involvement in her case of Professor Sir Roy Meadow, a controversial pediatrician who was later struck off, then reinstated, by the General Medical Council.
The Cannings case was re-examined after a BBC 'Real Story' investigation showed that her paternal great-grandmother had suffered one sudden infant death and her paternal grandmother two. Professor Michael Patton, a clinical geneticist at St George's Hospital Medical School told the BBC that a genetic inheritance was the most likely explanation for the cot deaths in the family.
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