CHILD killers are escaping justice because of a loophole in the law, a North-East MP has told the House of Commons.

Vera Baird, Labour MP for Redcar, said that as the law stands, if a couple kill a child in their care, unless one testifies against the other there is nothing the police and prosecutors can do.

According to child protection charity the NSPCC, three children under ten died at the hands of people who should be caring for them every week in Britain, yet many escape justice.

Often this happens when a single mother is living with a new boyfriend.

Mrs Baird, a barrister, proposed an amendment to the Government's Criminal Justice Bill, which would bring in an offence of failing to take care of a child who died.

This would have the effect of at least bringing to justice, although in a lesser way, those who kill children in their care.

Anybody who is facing a lengthy spell in prison would then have an incentive to testify against the other person involved in the incident.

From there, the police could start to build a forensic case," she said.

''I think it is about time the legal system was brought up to date in this regard," said Mrs Baird.

"Too many children are killed and injured without the offending adult being brought to book.''

While the amendment was not accepted, Mrs Baird, who has acted for a defendant in such a case, said she would be pressing the Government to act.