Mother who threw son from 14th floor gets five years

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A young mother who threw her six-year-old son to his death from the 14th floor of a tower block in Glasgow was sentenced yesterday to five years for culpable homicide.

A young mother who threw her six-year-old son to his death from the 14th floor of a tower block in Glasgow was sentenced yesterday to five years for culpable homicide.

Allison Campbell, 26, who had alcohol and drug problems and who has spent several months under assessment at Scotland's state hospital in Carstairs, had been charged with murder but pleaded guilty to the reduced charge at the High Court in Glasgow.

The judge, Lord Penrose, told Campbell he was taking into account that diminished responsibility had played a "very considerable part".

"There is no right answer that anyone can pretend to have for a situation such as yours ... While making all allowances I do not think I can impose a sentence of less than five years imprisonment from today, and that is the sentence," he said. Donald Findlay QC, for the defence, described the case as an "awful tragedy" and said Campbell would be aware of what she had done "for the rest of her days".

On 27 October last year, Campbell woke her two young sons, Derek, 6, and Ross, 9, saying there was a fire at their home in the Dalmarnock district of Glasgow, the court was told.

When Derek ran to her, she picked him up and carried him to the balcony outside her bedroom. Her neighbours said they heard shouting and saw the boy hit the ground.

The prosecution told the court that Derek had said "mum, don't do that" before he was thrown 150 feet. His mother was said to have laughed as she threw him but started to cry as soon as he hit the ground.

On arrival, the police found two fires, one in Derek's mattress and the other in a sheet on one of the boy's beds.

Mr Findlay told the court that Campbell had been tentatively diagnosed as having a "schizo-affective psychosis", but that she did not need to be in hospital for the time being. "She knows how she is at the present time. She does understand she was not well. She also understands that there is no guarantee that she will not be ill again," he said.

He added that she was desperate not to return to the Carstairs hospital. "She would not "survive there ... not in any recognisable form".

Mr Findlay also told the court Campbell had had a difficult life, having married in 1993 and separated four years later. She felt very guilty and was anxious to be sentenced and pay the price that was demanded of her, he said.