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Child-killing mother is jailed for life

A mother who killed her children after her relationship with their father broke down was jailed for life yesterday, with a minimum tariff of 32 years.

Fiona Donnison, 45, a former City of London financial worker, used three-year-old Harry and Elise, two, as the "ultimate pawns" in a vendetta against her former partner, Paul Donnison, a jury was told. The children's bodies were found in holdalls in the boot of their mother's car, near the former family home in Heathfield, East Sussex, in January last year.

Mr Justice Nicol, passing sentence at Lewes Crown Court, said the murders were "deliberate and wicked acts". "The premature end of such young lives would have been a tragedy but this was no accident," he said.

"You killed them, you who were their mother. Why you did this defies logical explanation."

Prosecutors said Donnison smothered the children with their bedding the night before putting their bodies in the car. Her defence team argued that she was depressed at the time and could not remember events surrounding the deaths.