Byline: by Frances Hubbard
PHIL and Amanda Peak prepared scrupulously for their two-hour interview with the social worker.
They expected this preliminary stage in the long, demanding adoption process to go well.
They were, after all, already proven as good, strong and loving parents. They passionately wanted to adopt children and they understood all the challenges involved.
But the verdict returned to them in the dry jargon of local government was brutal: Salford City Council did not consider them suitable candidates.
Disqualified on the grounds that their beloved sons, Arron and Ben, were killed in a car crash last June, they were told they would have to wait at least two years before they could even be considered. It might then take another five years for them to complete the necessary checks and be
Their boys, aged ten and eight, died when footballer Luke McCormick, drunk and sleep-deprived at the wheel, ploughed into Phil's people carrier as he drove them to Silverstone for a 'dad's weekend treat'. McCormick has never apologised. He is serving a seven-year sentence.
The Peaks hold hands in a room crowded with photographs of their smiling, handsome sons and say they are being 'scrutinised and punished' for the consequences of the footballer's terrible selfishness.
Amanda is passionately angry at the contorted logic behind the decision to refuse them the chance to be parents again.
'We were told that because our case had been in the public eye we might put children we adopted "at risk".
'The social worker also said that we were still grieving, but we lost our only two children: we'll be grieving for the rest of our lives. It may get easier as time goes on, but it's still there and it becomes a part of you. Does that mean we've lost …