LETTER:When post-natal depression strikes

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The Independent Online
From Dr David Robertson

Sir: I was greatly saddened to read Jim White's review of Inside Story concerning the tragic tale of a woman on trial in New York for murdering her new-born baby. Mr White seems to share the view of the district attorney in blaming Caroline Beale for murdering her own child, instead of seeing the injustice that this represents.

Although one can acknowledge that too often people are not held responsible for their own actions, in this case it seems clear that Ms Beale was suffering from a post-partum psychosis, which is a rare but well defined mental illness.

The comparatively enlightened legal system in this country recognises this particular circumstance and allows for women involved to have the treatment they so obviously need, rather then the punishment cruelly meted out in the United States.