Northern Ireland news


Mother admits murdering her two-year-old son and attempting to kill baby brother

The trial was halted after the woman admitted killing her son and attempting to kill his baby brother

A MURDER trial was halted yesterday when a woman admitted killing her son and attempting to kill his baby brother.

On the tenth day of her trail at Antrim Crown Court, the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, changed her pleas and admitted the offences.

The older child, who was aged two years and 10 months, was found dead from stab wounds in March 2020 at a rural property outside Larne. His brother was millimetres from death, the court had been told.

The defendant (41) will now receive a life sentence, with a minimum term to be set at a later date.

Yesterday, QC Kieran Mallon was due to begin calling defence evidence but instead he told Judge Patricia Smyth he was in a position to "present evidence of diminished responsibility" and asked for the two charges to be put to the defendant again. She replied "guilty" to each charge.

The jury had been told that there was no doubt the woman had caused the children's injuries. What was in dispute was "her mental state at the time". The court heard that the defendant had no memory of what had happened to her children.

The court was told that the children's father had returned from work and called an ambulance after receiving text messages from their mother in which she said she had killed the boys and was dying too.

He forced open the locked front door and with paramedics following close behind him, ran upstairs to his bedroom to find his fiancé and his two infant sons lying together in a blood saturated bed. A knife with a five-inch blade was found at the scene. Emergency services also found that painkilling patches had been stuck on the two children.

Yesterday, Judge Smyth thanked the jurors for their service in the “harrowing and particularly distressing trial” and instructing the foreman to record a verdict of “guilty by confession,” ordered the woman to stand.

"You have pleaded guilty to the murder of your son and also to the attempted murder of your other son and the only sentence that I can impose is one of life imprisonment," the judge said.

Remanding the defendant back into custody, the judge explained that once various reports have been compiled, she would set the minimum tariff the mother-of-four must spend in jail before she can be considered for release on licence by the Parole Commissioners.

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Northern Ireland news