Retrial looms in Wragg killing

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The Independent Online

The jury in the trial of a man accused of murdering his terminally ill son has been discharged after it failed to reach a verdict.

Prosecutors are now considering whether to ask for a retrial of Andrew Wragg, who has admitted the manslaughter of his 10-year-old son, Jacob.

Mr Wragg, 37, of Worthing, West Sussex, told the 11-day hearing at Lewes Crown Court that he had smothered his son with a pillow in a "mercy killing" in July.

Jacob suffered from Hunter syndrome, an incurable degenerative disorder that kills most sufferers before their teens. At the time of his death, he was deaf, unable to speak and spent most of his time in a wheelchair.

Mr Wragg, a former soldier, had just returned from working as a bodyguard in Iraq and said he believed that Jacob was "desperately sad" and just days away from being in severe and constant pain. He had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied murder.

Defence specialists claimed that he was suffering from a "temporary abnormality of the mind" brought on by the stress of his job and the burden of caring for his disabled son. The prosecution claimed that his deed was a "selfish killing" brought on by frustration, heavy drinking and embarrassment over his child.

Mr Wragg's former wife, Mary, told the trial that her husband had been "distant" with Jacob and had refused to attend hospital appointments.