Mother denies `mercy killing'

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The Independent Online
The devoted mother of a 14-month-old severely handicapped girl deliberately killed her daughter by removing the "lifeline" tube that was keeping her alive, a court was told yesterday.

The prosecution alleges that Julie Watts, 31, murdered her daughter Abigail, who needed round-the-clock care, by delberately disconnecting a tracheotomy tube as she lay in bed at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

The jury at Manchester Crown Court was told how Abigail had suffered a "formidable" series of handicaps including brain damage since being resuscitated after suffering a heart attack shortly after her birth. The handicaps had left her needing several operations, suffering from brain damage and with a rare skull deformity. She was also unable to eat and had sight and hearing defects.

Mrs Watts, of Little Hulton, Salford, Greater Manchester - described as a devoted and caring mother - pleads not guilty to Abigail's murder. The case continues.