Northern Ireland news

Jury shown knife woman used to stab her two young sons

Jury shown the knife a mother used to stab her two toddler sons

A WOMAN on trial for the murder and attempted murder of her infant sons has declined to give evidence on her own behalf.

Following the end of the prosecution case at Antrim Crown Court, defence QC Kieran Mallon confirmed the 41-year-old woman would not take the stand.

The defence case is due to start today and the jury have been told the first witness to be called will be consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr. Liam Dodge.

Earlier today the jury saw at first hand the knife the defendant used to stab her two toddler sons.

A police officer carried the knife over to the jury, it passed just a few feet from the defendant sitting behind a glass partition in the dock.

The mother-of-four is on trial accused of murdering her son who was two months short of his third birthday and the attempted murder of his 11-month-old little brother on March 2 2020.

The jury have already heard harrowing evidence that the "highly qualified nurse" put multiple morphine pain relief patches on the children before stabbing them numerous times in the bedroom of the family home in Magheramorne outside Larne, leaving “suicide notes” that she did not want them to “experience pain” and “I'm taking my kids with me because I can't leave them with their dad.”

The knife was used in what the police say was a “calculated” method in that both boys had sustained stab wounds to their necks and abdomens.

The oldest victim died as a result of a neck wound which severed an artery, while his little brother came within millimetres of the same fate and had to undergo emergency surgery.

It is the Crown case that when their mother stabbed them, she intended either to kill them or at least to cause her infant sons really serious harm but the defence argue that at the time, she was suffering from an abnormality of mind which substantially impaired her thinking.

The entirety of the notes penned by the defendant were read to the jury where the defendant wrote that “I’m doing this to hurt the ones who have hurt me and the one who is continuing to hurt me.”

Later the jury also heard evidence from the defendant’s ex husband who told prosecuting QC Charles MacCreanor he had known her since she was a teenager and that throughout their relationship and marriage, the defendant was “very controlling” and “very quick tempered.”

The witness told the court while there had been “constant” arguments, “being with her for 25 years I did begin to notice a pattern” in that arguments seemed to centre around her menstrual cycle.

He recounted numerous incidents when she:

• punched him in the face and dislocated his jaw;

• Threw hot coffee over him;

• “Keyed” his company car and smashed two company laptops;

• Deliberately drove fast knowing it scared him, including one incident when a boulder stopped them careering over a cliff;

• Burnt or cut up his clothes;

• Refusing to stay in a house the family were renting because she “felt it was possessed by demons;”

• “Flew into a rage” when she discovered he was dating another woman after they had separated.

He also told Mr MacCreanor about an argument where, after the defendant threw a glass ashtray at him, “I seen her shuffling around in the knife draw of the kitchen at which point it all seemed very scary.”

He said even though the defendant had been aggressive and violent towards him, when it came to the former couples’ two children, “I know she loved them very deeply.”

Mr MacCreanor asked if there was “ever any sign of any harm to them” and he replied “no never.”

Under cross examination from Mr Mallon, the senior barrister asked the witness that over the course of their relationship, “do you accept that her behaviour was bizarre on a near monthly basis?”

“I would just say more angry and then it escalated,” he said.

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