On day ten of the trial at Antrim Crown Court, defence QC Kieran Mallon had been set to begin calling defence evidence but instead, he told Judge Patricia Smyth he was now not in a position to “present evidence of diminished responsibility” and was therefore asking for the two charges to be put to the defendant again.
Sitting in the dock beside her solicitor the 41-year-old showed little or no emotion as the charges of murder and attempted murder were put to her, bending down into the microphone to say simply “guilty” to each charge.
Having thanked for seven men and five women of the jury for the service in the “harrowing and particularly distressing trial” and instructing the foreman to record a verdict of “guilty by confession,” Judge Smyth ordered the killer to stand.
“You have pleaded guilty to the murder of your son and also to the attempted murder of your other son and the only sentence that I san impose is of life imprisonment,” she told the defendant, explaining that once various reports have been compiled, she would set the minimum tariff she will spend in jail before she can even be considered for relapse on licence.
During the course of the prosecution evidence, the jury heard evidence that on 2 March 2020, the 41-year-old mother-of-four put multiple morphine pain relief patches on the children, one just two months shy of his third birthday and the other just 11-months-old, before stabbing them numerous times in the bedroom of the family home in Magheramorne 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.”
The knife was used in what the police say was a “calculated” method in that both boys had sustained stab wounds to their necks and abdomens but the oldest boy died as a result of a neck wound which severed an artery and a vain, the blade penetrating so deep that it touched his spine, while his little brother came within millimetres of the same fate and had to undergo emergency surgery.
The boys had bled so much the pain relief patches had changed colour from beige to crimson red.
It had been the Crown case that when their mother stabbed them, she intended either to kill them or at least to cause her infant sons really serious harm but the defence had argued that at the time, she was suffering from an abnormality of mind which substantially impaired her thinking, decision making and perception of consequences.
By pleading guilty today (Fri) the cruel mother has abandoned that stance and has accepted that as the detectives put to her during police interviews, she “knew what you were doing.”
“You murdered your child and attempted to murder the other and it’s only through medical intervention that he was saved,” said the detective who asked her directly: “Did you intend to kill the boys?”
“No, no, I would not even have dreamt of it,” she told police.
“Do you accept that you killed your son?” the officer demanded to know but the boys’ mother told them “how can I - I loved them so much?