Teenager said mum threatened to hurt infant sons before stabbing them, court told

The case is being heard in Antrim

Warning: This article contains distressing content

A teenager whose baby brothers were stabbed by their mum, one of them fatally, told police he had heard her “threaten to hurt” them before, a court has been told.

The videotaped interview took place four days after the attack that left one toddler dead and his youngest sibling fighting for life.

In the interview, the 15-year-old told detectives that during one of the regular arguments between his mum and her partner he thought “she threatened to harm them" as well as kill herself.

“I think I have heard her say it before when they were arguing but I don’t know when that was,” said the boy.

“He was threatening to call the police but she was threatening to do something,” he told the officer.

When asked if “mum had threatened to harm the kids,” he agreed.

“Is that right, that you felt mum was threatening to harm the little ones,” the officer repeated and again, the teenager agreed “uhm hum,” nodding his head in agreement.

Although pushed further on what he could recall, the 15-year-old said he could not remember the specifics of what was allegedly threatened but said: “I think their dad was wanting to phone the police but mum said if he phones the police she will do something.”

He told investigators during the almost two-hour interview that he had witnessed his mum repeatedly physically assaulting both his biological father and the father of the little boys.

The teenager further said his mother had made so many threats of suicide that he “can’t keep count” of them, the court heard.

“Have you ever been afraid of mum,” the officer asked and was told, “no, maybe afraid for someone else but not me, no.”

“Who?” said the officer and the jury heard the boy tell her: “my brothers and their dad and my dad.”

His 41-year-old mum, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her four children, is on trial accused of murdering her son who was two months short of his third birthday, and of the attempted murder of her 11-month-old child on 2 March 2020.

The jury of seven men and five women have already heard harrowing evidence that the 41-year-old “highly qualified nurse” put multiple morphine pain relief patches on the children before stabbing them numerous times in the bedroom of a house outside Larne, leaving “suicide notes” that she did not want them to “experience pain” and “I'm taking my kids with me because I can't leave them with their dad."

It is the Crown case that when the mother stabbed them, she either intended to kill them or at least intended to cause her infant sons really serious harm.

The defence argue that at the time, she was suffering from an abnormality of mind which substantially impaired her thinking, decision making and perception of consequences.

When the boys’ dad gave his often emotional evidence, he told the jury while he himself had been physically assaulted, he had “never saw her hurt or harm any of the children” and also there had been “no threat that the children would ever be hurt.”

On Friday (20 May), the jury heard the 15-year-old boy tell police that while he had witnessed the baby boys’ father being assaulted, the violence only ever went one way and his mum had never been grabbed, pushed or assaulted.

Like his younger sister whose video was played on Thursday, the 15-year-old had been at school when his mum attacked and stabbed his little brothers.

Describing a “pretty normal” day, he said he awoke around 7am to find his little brother in his room “so I told him to go away” and after getting ready, he left for school.

“I got took out of class by the principal who took me to her office and said ‘can I have your phone?’ I said no, tell me why and she said that the police are coming to talk to you…then I saw my uncle and he told me.”

Asked about the weekend leading up to the incident, he told police his mum and partner had been arguing on Saturday and that when he was in the car with her, “she said I’m thinking about just leaving him, packing everything and going.”

Echoing his sister’s account, the schoolboy recounted how there were “too many arguments” between the couple but that he stayed in his room and “didn’t pay attention to them.”

He also said his mum took an overdose while pregnant with the boy she would later stab to death and said she “punched herself in the belly” as her partner “shouted for her to please stop”.

Turning to issues involving his own dad, the teenager said he could remember his mum punching him in the face, throwing cups of coffee over him and one time when she “burned his clothes".

“One time I did say to her,” he told the detective, “she ran upstairs because I said to her and she said ‘dad’s fault, he done this’ but it’s never her fault.

“I asked about the times that she’s hit him and stuff like that but she just came out with excuses.”

The trial continues.