Friday, May 22, 2009

In the midst of life....

Shortly after 9.30am on 3 August 2007, I held my new-born baby girl Clara Eloise in my arms for the first time.

It was one of the most joyous moments of my life, and ever since then my beautiful daughter has continued to delight all around her with her sunny personality and winning smile.

But we now know that on that very day, 130-odd miles away in North London, another father was having to cope with very different emotions.

On the day the evil killers of Baby Peter were finally jailed, the victim impact statement by the child's father makes somewhat harrowing reading.

Describing his arrival at the hospital he says: "I saw his little, limp body just laying there, naked except for a nappy. I could not believe what was happening, I could not believe that was my son.

"He appeared to be asleep and I just wanted to pick him up and take him home. There was nothing I could do for him … all I could do was kiss his forehead and say 'goodbye'. My son was gone forever."

"Having a boy meant the world to me, the thought of having a son to continue the family name was a source of great pleasure …He was such an adorable, lovely little boy, he loved to be cuddled and tickled, his laughter and smile could not help but make anyone in his presence feel happy."

"Like all fathers I had imagined watching my son grow up, playing football with him, taking him to see Arsenal play, watching him open his Christmas and birthday presents and just develop as a person. All that has been taken from me."

I would like to think that in the years to come, as I watch my own beloved child open her birthday presents every 3 August, I will spare a thought for that poor bereaved father.

This appalling case has stirred deep emotions in the hearts of millions, but for me, it has been a humbling reminder not just of the fragility and preciousness of human life, but of just how much I still have to be thankful for....

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