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Court hears mother put multiple morphine patches on infant sons before stabbing them

The 41-year-old woman has gone on trial accused of the murder of her toddler son and attempted murder of his baby brother

A MOTHER put multiple morphine pain killing patches on her two infant sons before stabbing them as she "didn’t want them to experience pain", a jury has heard.

The 41-year-old woman has gone on trial accused of the murder of her toddler son and attempted murder of his baby brother.

She has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

The Antrim Crown Court jury of six men and six women also heard the "highly qualified nurse" had penned several notes on the morning she stabbed them, including one which said: "I'm taking my kids with me because I can't leave them with their dad".

Another note said: "I don't want to feel completely torn apart when I am taking the life of my own kids".

Before the prosecution opened the trial, Judge Patricia Smyth told the jury "there is no dispute" that the defendant stabbed the children but rather, "what is in dispute is her mental state at the relevant time".

The woman, who cannot be identified to protect the youngest victim and her other children, is accused that on March 2 2020, she murdered her son, a boy aged two years and ten months, and trying to murder her other 11-month-old son.

Prosecution QC Charles MacCreanor said while doctors found the defendant suffers from some form of personality disorder or possibly autism, he told the jury they would hear evidence from medics who treated her at the Shannon Clinic that she was "feigning symptoms - feigning symptoms and malingering".

"In simple terms, in my words, she was putting it on, making it up, fabricating the complaints and while some of what she said is or could be accurate, she is considered to be unreliable in the history that she gave," he said.

The court heard both children were found in an upstairs master bedroom with their mother, by their father, her partner.

He had returned to the house in the rural Maghaeramorne area near Larne after a series of text messages from their mother, which ended with her texting she had killed the boys and she was dying too.

"He immediately phoned her back and she answers the phone…and she says to him 'did you phone an ambulance' and then the phone’s hung up," Mr MacCreanor said.

Rushing home, he kicked the front door off its hinges and ran into the heavily blood stained bedroom where he found his partner on the bed, saturated with blood, and his children "just looking lifeless".

In a scene described by defence QC Kieran Mallon as "just carnage", the jury heard how the boy who died had suffered stab wounds which had punctured his airway, transected an artery and vein resulting in a "fairly rapid loss of life".

He also suffered a stab wound to his chest, which caused a collapsed lung.

When police first arrived, his brother was feeding from his mum but began "screaming in distress" and was found to have suffered two punctures wounds to his neck and abdomen.

The jury heard how a five inch knife was being held between mother and son.

The defendant had sustained stab wounds to her chest and neck, but were not life threatening, the court heard.

A police officer who attended the scene said the boys father was "frantic, totally panicked…he was white, almost grey….crying uncontrollably", adding he "was just completely broken".

Questioned by police, the defendant claimed she "had no memory of what might have happened to her children".

Mr MacCreanor said there was "no question" the defendant stabbed her sons, but the defence team had raised a "partial defence" that she was suffering from an abnormality of mind that substantially affected her thinking and perceptions of judgment.

He explained to the jury if they were "firmly convinced" she intended to kill or cause really serious harm, they would find her guilty.

But, he said, if they considered it "more likely than not" that she was suffering such a significant abnormality of mind that it affected her thinking, they would find her guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

The trial continues.

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