The mother, “E”, who cannot be named so as to protect her son’s identity, concocted a story about how he reacted to an MMR shot in January 1991. She said that he became distressed with fever and then lost speech, eye contact and play immediately following his three-in-one at the age of 18 months.
She claimed that he screamed after immunization, and that this was followed by six hours of convulsions and vomiting, and then six months in a “persistent vegetative state”.
But in a landmark 45,000-word judgment, which entered the public domain last week from the Court of Protection, the mother was dismissed as a manipulative liar. It was found that she had made up the story so as to bring attention to herself and had plied her developmentally delayed son with a mass of sometimes bizarre "biomedical" interventions so as to gain "total control" over his life.
"The critical facts established in this case can be summarized as follows," said High Court judge Mr Justice Baker. "M has autistic spectrum disorder. There is no evidence that his autism was caused by the MMR vaccination. His parents' account of an adverse reaction to that vaccination is fabricated."
It has long been recognized that a substantial number of parents who claim that vaccines injured their children are mistaken, confused, or for less benign reasons not telling the truth. But it is thought that the case of "E" is the first in which a judge has been so openly scornful of the parent of a disabled child, and may reflect a new attitude following the fall of British disgraced former doctor Andrew Wakefield.
Although Wakefield is believed to be incapable of personal embarrassment, awkwardly for him, the mother, “E”, was a leading disciple. She was part of an inner circle of campaigners, even entering her son in a speculative class action lawsuit against MMR manufacturers, evidently knowing that her case was untrue.