NewsCrime World

Woman who slit children's throats cleared of attempted murder

court-sadie-jenkins-attacked-the-children-with-a-kitchen-knife.jpg
court-sadie-jenkins-attacked-the-children-with-a-kitchen-knife.jpg

A mentally ill woman who slit the throats of a toddler and a seven-year-old in the midst of a drug induced trance has been cleared of attempted murder.

The two children screamed for their lives after Sadie Jenkins attacked them with a kitchen blade early one morning.

The 28-year-old was then seen holding her weapon while saying that "it had to be done".

Her trial at Cardiff Crown Court heard the youngest victim was only 16 months old and had a 2.4in-long (6cm) cut across their neck while the eldest had a horrific gaping wound and was cowering in a corner in fear.

The defendant was then found with a self-inflicted neck wound - before telling doctors "the voices told me to do it".

Forensic psychiatrist Doctor Philip Joseph said prolonged amphetamine abuse had badly affected Jenkins' mental state so much so that she was genuinely convinced the mafia was out to get her.

In the hours before the attack at an address in Newport in May last year, a delusional Jenkins was convinced she been sent a "secret message" via US TV show CSI.

She later told Dr Joseph: "I picked up the sharpest knife because I wanted it to be quick and easy."

A jury took only one hour to reach a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity on both counts.

As the decision came in, Jenkins sobbed uncontrollably in the dock.

Jenkins' trial heard that she suffered "great adversity" in her childhood - and started smoking cannabis at the age of 11 following the death of her father as well as being bullied at school.

The court heard that she turned to drink and drugs while trying to battle depression and anxiety. And in the months leading up to the attack, Jenkins began to suffer from paranoid delusions while in the grip of an amphetamine addiction.

As well as chopping off her hair after becoming convinced she was infested with lice, she also began leaving coat hangers on all the doors in her house amid fears that someone had stolen her keys.

Her paranoia escalated even further when she began believing a "worldwide mafia gang" was following her.

Her desperation reached such levels that after watching an episode CSI, she believed mobsters were about to kidnap two children and decided "she had no choice" but to kill them.

Defence witness and specialist psychiatrist Dr Joseph said: "Miss Jenkins formed the intention that she had to kill them and, if she did not, a worldwide mafia organisation would.

"She was suffering a defect of reason that was so severe that when she attacked the children she did not know what she was doing was wrong.

"She thought she was doing the right thing and preventing them suffering a fate worse than death."

The court heard that the two injured children screamed for their lives while their throats were sawed at with a steak knife - prompting a man and woman to rush in and tackle a "zombie-like" Jenkins.

An eyewitness described the eldest child as cowering in fear, holding a blood soaked blanket to their neck before revealing a gaping wound to the front of their throat. The two children managed to survive, but required urgent and "significant" surgery.

Jenkins was later sectioned under the Mental Health Act, before being discharged and remanded in custody pending trial.

The court heard that she has now recovered from her psychosis following lengthy treatment, but would be at significant risk of relapsing if she were ever to take illegal drugs again.

However, because Jenkins was found not guilty on grounds of insanity it means the case does not instantly end there.

Judge Mrs Justice Carr said she was bound by the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 to do one of three things - make Jenkins the subject of a hospital order, impose a supervision order or issue an absolute discharge.

Mrs Justice Carr said she believed an absolute discharge was "not appropriate", nor was further psychiatric detention - given that Jenkins is no longer psychotic.

"I am minded to subject you to an intensive supervision order ... but that its a matter for me and me only," Mrs Justice Carr told the defendant.

However, she adjourned disposing of the case for a further four weeks to give the relevant agencies chance time to be able to offer support to a now homeless Jenkins.

Jenkins will remain in custody until her sentencing on June 26.