Woman sentenced for killing grandson, 5, who suffered 29 injuries while in her care

David-Mario Lazar died after being stabbed at his home in Coventry last year Credit: Handout

A grandmother has been sentenced to an indefinite hospital order after admitting killing her five-year-old grandson, who was stabbed to death while in her care last year.

Elena Anghel, 51, who was suffering delusions linked to paranoid schizophrenia, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

Anghel, who's from Romania, was detained under the Mental Health Act after David-Mario Lazar died from stab wounds at his home in Poplar Road, Earlsdon, Coventry, on 25 January last year.

Paramedics tried to save the youngster, but he was pronounced dead a short time later.

A post-mortem examination showed he had suffered a total of 29 areas of sharp force injury, including wounds to his head, chest, back and hand.

The judge was told Anghel, who was accompanied in the dock by four health workers and an interpreter, has an extensive history of treatment in Romania for psychotic and depressive disorders dating back to at least 2009.

Imposing a hospital order “without limit of time” on Anghel, the judge said: “You have expressed profound remorse so much so that you have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"That course (a hospital order) is supported without reservation by all of the medical professionals.

"You will need treatment for the rest of your life. The evidence is clear – this is best done in hospital."

In a victim impact statement read into the court record by prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith, David-Mario’s mother said: "Mario was five years old when he died and he was killed by my mother.

"I still cannot believe this has happened. It is over a year ago now and nothing changes."

The victim impact statement continued: "In our home Mario is everywhere. There are pictures and memories of him all over.

"He will never be forgotten.

"I never saw her (Anghel) do anything around my son that would alarm me. She loved him and he loved her.

"I would never have trusted her to care for Mario if she had shown any signs of illness."

Opening the facts of the case against Anghel, prosecution Christopher Tehrani KC said a forensic psychiatrist had stressed that, in his opinion, the defendant was "very unwell" at the time of the killing.

Mr Tehrani said Anghel joined other family members in Coventry after being treated for a "moderate" mental disorder in March 2020 in Romania.

The prosecutor told the court: "She has no previous convictions. She does however have a psychiatric history.

"Mario's parents were aware that the defendant had had prior problems with mental health, however unaware of any continuing mental health issues."

The court heard the "bright boy who took pleasure in learning English" was dropped off at home by his father who then returned to work.

Summarising a statement made by David-Mario's mother shortly after he was killed, Mr Tehrani said: "He was the most precious thing to her. He was her world. He was always happy and smiling."

Addressing the events which led to the boy's death, Mr Tehrani added: "When Mario arrived home he shouted to the defendant that he was home.

"The defendant asked him how school had been. The defendant appeared to be her normal self and had been in the preceding weeks as far as they could tell."

Shortly before 5.15pm, the court heard, Anghel went to a Co-op store in nearby Earlsdon Street in a distressed state, appearing to be saying "police" and "translate" repeatedly.

Police were called to the scene and Anghel told an officer who could speak Romanian that she had killed her grandson, making delusional claims that she had not wanted him to suffer serious assaults at the hands of someone else.

Mr Tehrani said: "She said she had done what she had done to Mario out of love.

"When they (police officers) attended the property, the horror of what had happened within the property became evident. Mario's body was lifeless.

"No pulse was detected and there was no other signs of life. Shortly thereafter Mario was declared dead."