Mother of drowned children 'is pregnant'

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The Independent US

The five children apparently drowned by their mother who was suffering from post-natal depression will be buried today. The children, aged from six months to seven, were killed last week at their home in Houston, Texas.

Their mother, Andrea Yates, told police she killed them one after the other, by drowning them in the bathtub. Yesterday Mrs Yates, 36, who has so far been charged with the murders of her sons Noah, seven, and five-year-old John, may be pregnant. She has had a pregnancy test while she is being held on suicide watch in prison. Her lawyer, George Parnham, told a Houston television station the result of the test would be known this week.

Mr Parnham said Mrs Yates had been suffering "a very deep psychosis" when she drowned her children. "She is still in a very deep psychosis," he said. "We are having her treated and examined by professional mental health experts. I've accumulated evidence in the last 24 hours that strongly suggests the mental status of my client will be the issue, which means entering a not-guilty plea by reason of insanity."

Prosecutors have still to announce if they will seek the death penalty, which Mr Parnham said he would oppose. Mrs Yates told police she chased her eldest son around the house before drowning him and then made a call to emergency services.

Mrs Yates's husband, Russell, has said he will stand by his wife. He believes her severe post-natal depression and the recent death of her father drove her to kill their five children.