A mother who drowned her young son and tried to do the same to his older brother was delusional and trying to save them, a court has heard.
A New South Wales mother who drowned her two young sons in a river, killing the five-year-old, was delusional and trying to save them from a “worse homicide”, a court has heard.
The 28-year-old Deniliquin woman, who can’t be named for legal reasons, is on trial for the murder of her youngest child and the attempted murder of her eight-year-old son, in the Murray River at Moama on March 2, 2017.
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In Wagga Wagga court this morning, the woman sat in the dock clutching at a white plastic sick bag and twirling the ends of her plaited hair before pleading not guilty to both charges by way of mental illness. At times she rocked from side to side and cried.
The mother killed her son because she tried to "save him". Source: news.com.au
She was "seriously disturbed"
In his opening address, defence barrister Eric Wilson said the woman believed she was saving her children by killing them.
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“She was keeping them safe your honour,” he told the judge-alone trial.
The court heard she was delusional and believed she was “going to be raped, tortured … and had to prevent her children from witnessing that … or they would be killed themselves”.
“She was suffering from a seriously disturbed mental state,” Mr Wilson said.
“She thought she was saving them from being killed (in a worse way).”
Justice Richard Button said it was “thoroughly bizarre to say that to save one’s children they must kill them”.
One of the boy's escaped his mother's attempt to drown him. Source: News Corp.
"Mum told me to put my head under"
Crown Prosecutor Max Pincott told the court that the mother had taken her then five and eight year old sons to the riverbank and then forced them underwater.
A witness who heard screams ran to the river and saw the older boy being attacked by a dog. He carried him away and the boy said words to the effect of: “I think I’m the only survivor”, the court heard.
The child was taken to hospital for treatment of dog bites and pneumonia from the attempted drowning.
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The court heard he told police: “Mum told me to put my head in and she dunked me in there and I was starting to suffocate as she was hopping on me … and then I got out … and my mum dunked my brother … and the dog started biting me.”
His five-year-old brother’s lifeless body was found in the river two days later following an extensive search by authorities.
The accused with her five-year-old son she allegedly drowned in the Murray River, and her mug shot after the incident. Source: News Corp.
"I had to drown my babies"
The woman was on supervised parole after having been released from prison, on aggravated break and enter and drug offences, the month prior to the incident.
The court heard that on the morning of the killing, the woman appeared angry and had called her mother Robyn Connor and told her: “You won’t see us anymore”.
Later that night, local resort owner Michael Falzon saw the woman walking into his work premises soaking wet, bleeding and crying, about 9pm.
The witness observed that the woman’s pants were ripped below her knee and so asked if she was all right.
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“She answered: ‘I drowned my babies’,” Mr Pincott said.
“When asked what she meant, she replied: ‘I had to drown my babies’.”
Mr Falzon then took the woman to the police station upon her request.
“He observed on the way to the police station the accused was crying and saying ‘my babies my babies’,” Mr Pincott said.
The court was told that the accused told police: “I killed my kids ... “I didn’t want to do it. I am such a motherfu**er”.
Mr Pincott said that when police asked where her kids were, she became upset and screamed: “I fu**ing drowned them”. The court heard she then referenced an ex-partner she hadn’t had any contact with since 2016.
“F**k that c**t needs to be shot,” she said to officers, the court heard.
The mother with her two boys before the tragedy. Source: News Corp.
No drugs in her system
Crown witness Dr Jonathon Adams, a forensic psychiatrist who assessed the accused killer, told the court she appeared to have a borderline personality disorder and was likely suffering delusional beliefs at the time of the alleged offence.
“I think she has borderline personality disorder, a longstanding substance abuse disorder and a likely major depressive disorder,” Dr Adams said.
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“It appeared to me her mental state was deteriorating in the four weeks prior to the alleged offence.”
The court heard that toxicology reports showed the accused did not have any traces of illicit substances in her system at the time of her arrest.
Dr Adams said his patient had told him she used the drug ice once in the four weeks between her release from jail and the drowning of her children.
The court heard that the woman had not been taking prescribed medication after being released from prison in the lead up to the alleged murder and attempted murder. In the days leading up to the alleged murder and attempted murder, the woman was seen screaming to herself: “You stupid sl**”, “stupid b**ch” and “I’m going to kill him”. She was also caught shoplifting on two occasions during that time.
The trial continues.