Michelle Edmonds never heard her daughter's first words or saw her first steps, as her family was "ripped apart" on the say-so of Professor David Southall.

The consultant paediatrician, who was being investigated by the General Medical Council, put Samantha Edmonds into care before she celebrated her first birthday.

His recommendation came after Ms Edmonds' marriage broke down and questions were raised over whether she could care for her two other children after she had been diagnosed in 1995 with Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy.

Samantha was born in November 1994 and, after breathing problems, was referred by the family doctor in Dudley to North Staffordshire Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent, where Prof Southall worked.

He claimed Ms Edmonds had abused her daughter or was making up a story about breathing problems to get attention.

After being watched by social services, Samantha was put into foster care for nine months and Ms Edmonds could see her only under supervision.

"They watched my every move to see if I would do anything to harm Samantha," said Ms Edmonds, 33, who lives in Stourbridge.

"I even had to go to a rehabilitation centre in Oxford where I was only allowed to play with my baby in front of CCTV cameras. It was supposed to catch out mothers abusing their babies. Samantha was then sent to another place where I could not see her and when she started having breathing fits there, it became apparent it was not me harming her."

After a long battle to clear her name and get her daughter back, judges threw out all allegations against Ms Edmonds.

Samantha finally returned home in April 1996 when Ms Edmonds' other children, Baron, now 15, and Sadie, 13, were taken off the 'at risk' register.

"I feel terrible about it all because I never saw Samantha's first steps or heard her first words as I was only allowed near her when social services permitted," she said.

"I was brought up in a care home so they thought I was not good enough to be a parent. But this has ripped apart my family and I have been crying ever since I heard on the news that this doctor is being investigated because it has brought it all back."