Mother stabbed children after mental health declined following birth of baby

A mother tried to kill her three children in their own home after her mental health deteriorated following the birth of her third child, a court has heard.

The 35-year-old woman was hearing voices telling her that her four-year-old, two-year-old and 10-week-old children would be taken from her and tortured when she stabbed them at their house in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Sheffield Crown Court (pictured) heard the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had become convinced she needed to “save the children and protect them by taking them to heaven with her”.

During the incident in February last year she locked her husband out of the house and stabbed herself and the three children.

When she opened the door to her husband he ran upstairs to find the children covered in blood, the court heard.

The woman herself suffered 14 stab wounds in total, the baby suffered two wounds to each side of the neck and a collapsed lung.

The two-year-old had sustained eight wounds to their lung, causing a partial collapse.

The four-year-old suffered eight wounds to the neck, one to the right cheek and two to the back.

The judge, Mrs Justice Lambert, said the woman’s mental health had “fluctuated” over 10 years and she started hearing voices around the time of her first marriage, which she claimed had been abusive.

At one point she was treated in a psychiatric unit before marrying her second husband.

The court heard by the time her third child was born her “depressive and psychotic symptoms” increased, she was struggling to cope with her low mood and the voices in her head were telling her she was “better off dead and should take her children with her”.

A week before stabbing herself and her children, the woman was seen by medical staff and denied having any suicidal thoughts, hallucinations or delusions.

Mrs Justice Lambert said she had been worried about the stigma around mental illness, and scared that reporting her symptoms would affect her contact with her children.

The judge told the defendant she “could and should have sought help” at this point, but had “placed your own interests above those of the children in your care”.

She acknowledged the woman had a chronic mental disorder and a “sad and troubled history”.

The judge said there was no evidence about the effect of the incident on the three children as the woman’s family had not engaged with police, adding: “I have nothing about the psychological impact on the four-year-old child who must have been aware his mother was harming him.”

The defendant, who pleaded guilty to three charges of attempted murder, was sentenced to a hybrid order lasting 10 years and eight months under section 45 of the Mental Health Act.

She will be detained in hospital until she is well enough to be transferred to prison.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2024, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Dave Higgens / PA.