A woman accused of murdering her eight-week-old son and attempting to murder his two-year-old sister broke down in tears several times while giving evidence at her trial on Monday.The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admits stabbing her children in 2021 but denies the charges of murder and attempted murder.
On the opening day of the defence's case the woman took the stand in the Belfast court.
She told the court she met her children's father in 2018.
When asked what her home life was like she described it as being "like in a dog cage".
"My life," she said, "was a nightmare".
The accused alleged she was "beaten, assaulted, threatened and abused" by her ex-partner.
She told the court after the birth of her second child she was tearful and distressed, that she had no help, or support and couldn't rely on her partner.
The woman alleged on one occasion her ex partner sexually abused her while both children were asleep in the same room.
Breaking down in tears several times, she said she was left feeling "what would he do with me today, how would he abuse me today?".
When asked by a defence barrister if she remembered what she did to her children on the day they were stabbed she said she did.
The accused then broke down when asked what she did to her daughter. At this point the trial was halted for the day.
Earlier the woman's defence asked the jurors to consider her state of mind at the time and spoke of both infanticide and manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility being alternative charges to murder.
The trial continues.
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.