A mother charged with murdering her two-year-old son was remanded to a secure psychiatric hospital today.
Melanie Ruddell, 39, carried the lifeless body of toddler Christy into Peterlee police station, County Durham, last month.
She received hospital treatment following her arrest and was deemed well enough to be charged by police today.
After appearing briefly at Peterlee Magistrates' Court - next door to the police station - a bail application was heard behind closed doors at Newcastle Crown Court.
In open court, Judge Michael Cartlidge said afterwards: "I have ordered that she be remanded to a secure psychiatric hospital to be treated by a consultant psychiatrist and that will remain the position for some months to come."
Ruddell, of Dean View, Castle Eden, became distressed during the hearing in chambers, the judge said.
She was permitted to leave the dock before the open court part of the hearing to be taken back to hospital.
She wore a dark suit with a turquoise striped shirt and had her dark hair in a bob.
A plea and case management hearing will be held in February.
Ruddell is alleged to have killed her son in his sleep while they stayed overnight at the home of her brother Neil Close, 37, in West Rainton, County Durham, on August 9.
She then drove her son's body to the police station, where she was arrested on suspicion of murder.
A post-mortem examination revealed the toddler died after being strangled and had also suffered a single stab wound, although this is not thought to have caused his death.Reuse content