Jury told how mum gave infant sons painkilling medication before stabbing them

A mum put multiple pain killing patches on her two infant sons before stabbing them in their necks and bodies because she didn’t want them to feel pain, a jury heard on Tuesday. The Antrim Crown Court jury of six men and six women also heard that the 41-year-old “highly qualified nurse” who has gone on trial for the murder and attempted murder of her two young sons, had penned several notes on the morning she stabbed them, writing in one that she gave them medication because “she didn’t want them to experience pain". Other “suicide notes” said “I'm taking my kids with me because I can't leave them with their dad” and “I don't want to feel completely torn apart when I am taking the life of my own kids." Before the prosecution opened the trial, Judge Patricia Smyth warned the jury they had “to be prepared to hear evidence that may upset you” but that as individuals and collectively, they had to set aside any sympathy, prejudice or emotion and assess the evidence in a calm way. The 41-year-old, who cannot be identified to protect the youngest victim, as well as her other children, is on trial that on 2 March 2020, she murdered her son who was two years and ten months and tried to murder her other son who was just 11-months-old. Judge Smyth told the jury “there is no dispute” that the defendant stabbed the children but rather, “what is in dispute is her mental state at the relevant time.” According to prosecution QC Charles MacCreanor, while doctors found that the defendant does suffer from some form of personality disorder or possibly autism, he told the jury they would hear evidence from doctors who treated her at the Shannon Clinic that she was “feigning symptoms - feigning symptoms and malingering.” “In simple terms, in my words, she was putting it on, making it up, fabricating the complaints and while some of what she said is or could be accurate, she is considered to be unreliable in the history that she gave,” said the senior barrister. “We naturally say that there is a compelling case here and evidence before you of the defendant committing murder and attempted murder,” he submitted to the jury. Mr MacCreanor told the jury the baby’s wounds had come close to severing his jugular vein and that he had sustained a partial collapsed lung, adding that had his injuries not been treated, the little boy’s injuries “were life threatening.” The defendant herself had also sustained injuries, stab wounds to the left side of her chest and neck and although the jury heard the bed where she was lying was saturated in blood, “we are not talking life threatening injuries” on her. Eventually questioned by police, she claimed she “had no memory of what might have happened to her children” and asked if she stabbed the boys to punish her partner, “she said she could not recall.” Turning to legal issues that the jury would have to focus on, Mr MacCreanor said there was “no question” the defendant stabbed her sons but the defence team had raised a “partial defence” that she ass suffering from an abnormality of mind that substantially effected her thinking and perceptions of judgement. He explained that if they were “firmly convinced” the defendant intended to kill or cause really serious harm, they would find her guilty but if they considered it “more likely than not” that she was suffering such a significant abnormality of mind that it affected her thinking, they would find her guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. Const. Kerrigan, the first officer who arrived at the scene, said the boys’ father was “frantic, totally panicked…he was white, almost grey….crying uncontrollably.” “He was standing, leaning, falling to the floor sometimes, over the central island in the kitchen saying things like ‘the boys are dead, she’s killed my boys’ and just crying,” said the officer, “he was just completely broken.” She told junior prosecuting counsel Michael Chambers that when she went into the bedroom, the paramedic treating the older boy “just looked at me and shook his head…his little body was just limp.” The trial continues.