'I was a good mum' says woman who killed her two young children while suffering from post-natal depression


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The Independent Online

A “loving and caring” mother killed her two young children after stopping her medication for postnatal depression because of unfounded fears about the side-effects on her newborn son, the Old Bailey was told today.

Felicia Boots, 35, killed her two children Mason, nine weeks, and Lily Skye, 14 months, after stopping the treatment without telling her family because she was concerned about the impact while she continued to breast feed.

Mrs Boots was suffering from increasing paranoia before she killed her children and believed that they would be taken away from her.

Her husband, Jeffrey, discovered the bodies after returning to their new home in southwest London after work in May this year. He found his wife curled up on the stairs of the house and telling him not to go upstairs.

He ran up the stairs and found the two children lying lifeless on the floor of a walk-in cupboard off the main bedroom. They had died from asphyxia. There were also signs that Mrs Boots had tried to take her own life.

She left a chaotic hand-written note by the bodies questioning how she could have done it, apologising and saying she wanted to take her own life, the court heard. When police turned up she said repeatedly: "I don't know why I did it."

A weeping Mrs Boots yesterday admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was detained at a psychiatric unit. In a statement to the court read to the court by her counsel, Mrs Boots said: "May 9, 2012 is a day I will be eternally sorry for. It should never have happened and troubles me deeper than anyone will ever know.

"Part of me will always be missing but please know that I'm a good person. I was a good mum and never meant this to happen. I'm truly sorry."

Mr Boots was in court yesterday and glanced across at his wife before she was led from the dock. Mr Boots, a banker, is standing by his wife and lodged a "moving statement supportive of his wife in very sympathetic terms," the court heard.

She had suffered from postnatal depression after the birth of their first child and despite recovering, her family were worried about her increasingly fragile mental state following the birth of Mason and seemed unable to complete simple tasks. Her husband, however, received a photo text of Lily on the day of the killings which made him think she might be getting better.

Mr Justice Fulford said the case was the "polar opposite" of child neglect cases that sometimes came before the court. He said the Boots, originally from Canada, had always been a happy family.

He said the killing of the children that she and her husband had "loved and nurtured" was the result of psychological forces that were "beyond her control".

"This is almost an indescribably sad case," he said. "This is someone who delighted in being a mother and by all accounts she was very good at it.

"At the time of this tragedy she became fixated and deluded that her children were going to be taken away and she decided I am sure to end her own life."

She was detained to be treated at a psychiatric clinic. The psychiatrist in charge of her treatment said there was no specific date or plans for her release.

The court heard that Mrs Boots had an unhappy previous marriage that had left her "mentally crushed". Her brother had also killed himself at the age of 29, the court heard.