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  1. #1
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    Why Parents Kill Their Children

    "New stories about parents who kill their children continue to mesmerize shock and terrify the community each time they are reported. Although filicide (child murder) is uncommon, it’s a leading cause of child death in developed countries. Compared to other developed nations, the United States has the highest rate of child homicide. When a child is murdered, the perpetrators are most likely one of the child’s parents."

    "In the United States, women commit two crimes as frequently as men. The first is shoplifting. The second is the murder of their children. Women, who commit 13% of all violent crimes, kill their children at the same rate as men. Annually, more than 200 women will take the life of their child or children."

    "The Mentally Ill & Altruistic Filicide
    Altruistic filicide is the murder of a child committed out of love. It is seen as a rational act by the parent, primarily the mother. Altruistic mothers are invested in being good mothers, but, because of delusional perception, believe that by killing their children, they’re saving them from some awful fate or suffering. These mothers are frequently suicidal, are afraid of what will happen to the child or children after their intended suicide. The fact that they kill out of love is the most important feature that distinguishes this type of filicide from all other homicides.
    Twenty-one percent of all filicides are committed by parents during a period of severe mental illness or during a psychotic episode. These mothers are older (late 20s, early 30s) frequently married, and have less psychosocial stressors than mothers who kill in the context of fatal child abuse. They also kill older children. They frequently have had a significant history of mental illness: bipolar disorder, depressive disorders, schizophrenia, melancholia, manic depressive disorders and personality disorders. "

    "Parents frequently do not plan on killing the child, and there is a sense of intense passion during the act. Children were more likely to be drowned, shaken, beaten, poisoned, stabbed or suffocated. Women usually kill children in a method that involves close and active physical contact with the child, such as shaking, manual battering, suffocation or drowning."

    "Filicide & the Legal Process
    Juries are generally more lenient with female filicide offenders than males. The jury may have a hard time placing an accused mother in the common perception of a murderer. Or they may feel that the guilt and shame she has experienced has been punishment enough."
    (Grand jury ???)

    http://www.lawofficer.com/news-and-articles/columns/Kulbarsh/filicide.html
    Last edited by cynic; 11-18-2009 at 09:46 PM.
    “It saddens me that 20 years after my sister Nicole’s murder, we are still seeing the same crimes, just different names, over and over again.”
    - Denise Brown (sister of Nicole Brown Simpson)

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by cynic View Post
    Juries are generally more lenient with female filicide offenders than males. The jury may have a hard time placing an accused mother in the common perception of a murderer.
    I was just in a conversation about that.

    Or they may feel that the guilt and shame she has experienced has been punishment enough."
    I admit, even I resemble that remark at times.
    I'm as mad as HELL and I'm NOT gonna take it anymore!.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cynic View Post
    "New stories about parents who kill their children continue to mesmerize shock and terrify the community each time they are reported. Although filicide (child murder) is uncommon, it’s a leading cause of child death in developed countries. Compared to other developed nations, the United States has the highest rate of child homicide. When a child is murdered, the perpetrators are most likely one of the child’s parents."

    "In the United States, women commit two crimes as frequently as men. The first is shoplifting. The second is the murder of their children. Women, who commit 13% of all violent crimes, kill their children at the same rate as men. Annually, more than 200 women will take the life of their child or children."

    "The Mentally Ill & Altruistic Filicide
    Altruistic filicide is the murder of a child committed out of love. It is seen as a rational act by the parent, primarily the mother. Altruistic mothers are invested in being good mothers, but, because of delusional perception, believe that by killing their children, they’re saving them from some awful fate or suffering. These mothers are frequently suicidal, are afraid of what will happen to the child or children after their intended suicide. The fact that they kill out of love is the most important feature that distinguishes this type of filicide from all other homicides.
    Twenty-one percent of all filicides are committed by parents during a period of severe mental illness or during a psychotic episode. These mothers are older (late 20s, early 30s) frequently married, and have less psychosocial stressors than mothers who kill in the context of fatal child abuse. They also kill older children. They frequently have had a significant history of mental illness: bipolar disorder, depressive disorders, schizophrenia, melancholia, manic depressive disorders and personality disorders. "

    "Parents frequently do not plan on killing the child, and there is a sense of intense passion during the act. Children were more likely to be drowned, shaken, beaten, poisoned, stabbed or suffocated. Women usually kill children in a method that involves close and active physical contact with the child, such as shaking, manual battering, suffocation or drowning."

    "Filicide & the Legal Process
    Juries are generally more lenient with female filicide offenders than males. The jury may have a hard time placing an accused mother in the common perception of a murderer. Or they may feel that the guilt and shame she has experienced has been punishment enough."
    (Grand jury ???)

    http://www.lawofficer.com/news-and-articles/columns/Kulbarsh/filicide.html

    This is an absolutely fascinating article, Cynic. A couple of the scenarios mentioned seem to fit Patsy like a glove. The bit about mothers fearing for their children's futures seems especially apt given Patsy's admitted eagerness to pack every day as though it were her last and her comments in DoI about the pageants being calculated to give JBR some mother-daughter memories.

    Regarding juries etc feeling sympathy for the mothers etc, I have to agree with Dave. I can imagine many mothers being distraught after harming their child and suffering almost as much through that and society's opprobrium as they would through any judicial punishment. This isn't to say we shouldn't punish them but I do know what Dave means.

    DeeDee comments on another thread about mollycoddling criminals and I must say that I don't necessarily agree with the defence we have in English law that a woman who has recently (within a year, I think, but can't really remember) given birth is viewed as not quite compos mentis and if she kills her child, she serves a much-reduced sentence (again, I forget exactly what but, if memory serves, it's minimal).

    The article also indicates why it is folly to look too closely for a motive in family killings.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sophie View Post
    we have in English law that a woman who has recently (within a year, I think, but can't really remember) given birth is viewed as not quite compos mentis and if she kills her child, she serves a much-reduced sentence (again, I forget exactly what but, if memory serves, it's minimal).
    A single mother who falsely claimed raiders tied her up and started a fire in which her four-month-old son died walked free from court today.
    Danielle Wails, 22, received three years probation, after admitting killing her son.
    She told police she was tied up by intruders who set her flat ablaze last year.
    Following the fire on August 28th, police launched a manhunt for the two men who she falsely claimed had attacked her in the two-bedroomed terrace house and then tied her up with telephone cord.
    She told detectives she had been knocked unconscious and when she awoke, the lounge, where her son was, was alight.
    She said she had used her tongue to dial 999 and shouted through the letterbox to neighbours, begging them to try and save Alexander.
    Wails, who had split from the baby's father Robert Gallon after a series of rows, was living in accommodation provided by a charity which helps single mothers.
    But her story, which included claims that she called 999 using her tongue, unravelled and she was charged with little Alexander Gallon's murder.
    On the first day of the trial at Newcastle Crown Court in August, Wails' guilty plea to the lesser charge of infanticide was accepted by the prosecution after two psychiatrists both agreed she was suffering from postnatal depression and that the balance of her mind was disturbed at the time of the tragedy.
    Today, the court heard that Wails had started the blaze of the rented home in Link Road, in the Cowgate area of Newcastle upon Tyne, to try and win back Mr Gallon after splitting.
    Prosecutor Paul Sloan QC told the court: "Danielle Wails made an emergency 999 call asking for the fire service and the police.
    "During the course of that telephone call she reported a fire at 5, Link Road and she claimed that she had been attacked and tied up.
    "She said her baby son was on the other side of the other living room and she had not reached him because of the fire and the smoke.
    "The tape recording of the call makes particular harrowing listening with baby Alexander's shrieks all too audible."
    Neighbours heard Wails shouting through the letterbox: "My house is on fire. My baby, my baby," Mr Sloan said.
    He added: "Danielle Wails stumbled outside and lay down on the ground. She had some telephone wire around her right wrist only.
    "She reported to neighbours that she had been attacked and knocked out and when she awoke the house was on fire.
    "She said she had made the 999 call using her tongue."
    Fire crews rescued baby Alexander from the burning house and he was taken to Newcastle General Hospital, but pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
    He had suffered horrific burns, while he mother had suffered only minor bruises and grazes.
    Consultant psychiatrist Adrian East told the court he was satisfied Wails was suffering from postnatal depression and had been diagnosed with the symptoms in the months before the killing.
    The court heard that Wails had claimed she was not being supported by health and social services staff before the tragedy, but records showed she had missed some appointments and that efforts to contact her had proved futile.
    After Alexander's death, it emerged Wails had been bombarding Mr Gallon and his family with phone calls and text messages in a futile bid to reconcile their relationship.
    Wails told people that Alexander was ill and needed hospital treatment - claims that were proven to be lies.
    In the months before her son's death, she also told friends she had been attacked in Newcastle city centre and had lost twins and triplets.
    Mr Sloan told the court: "There were many other false claims. It would seem that the underlying purpose behind these false claims was to win back her partner's sympathies and support.
    "She was also bombarding people with calls to find out where Robert Gallon was. She clearly wanted him to return to her."
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ree-court.html
    “It saddens me that 20 years after my sister Nicole’s murder, we are still seeing the same crimes, just different names, over and over again.”
    - Denise Brown (sister of Nicole Brown Simpson)

  5. #5
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    Good grief: that's my local court and I read the local paper every evening and that had completely passed me by!


    Couldn't make it up, could you?

    ETA: Mind you, a scenario involving a single mother from that part of Newcastle is exactly the sort of scenario that one imagines when thinking about mothers who kill. Talk about living up to a stereotype.

    ETA 2: Although actually this is pretty much the Debora Green scenario so posher people do commit this sort of crime.
    Last edited by Sophie; 11-24-2009 at 10:21 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sophie View Post
    Good grief: that's my local court and I read the local paper every evening and that had completely passed me by!


    Couldn't make it up, could you?
    Lol - Bizarre
    “It saddens me that 20 years after my sister Nicole’s murder, we are still seeing the same crimes, just different names, over and over again.”
    - Denise Brown (sister of Nicole Brown Simpson)

  7. #7
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    Three years' probation for killing her child..... I keep saying this: Britain is a bloated Boulder in terms of criminal justice and it's the poster child for why this approach doesn't work.

  8. #8
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    Think her lawyers would claim Patsy had postpartum depression for 6 years?
    THIS time, we get it RIGHT!

    This post is my constitutionally-protected opinion. Please do not copy or take it anywhere else.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeDee249 View Post
    Think her lawyers would claim Patsy had postpartum depression for 6 years?
    More likely that her treatments had severely affected her mind. I'd believe it. I've seen it firsthand twice.
    I'm as mad as HELL and I'm NOT gonna take it anymore!.

  10. #10
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    Meth. This is why parents kill their children. jmo.
    email me


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    More likely that her treatments had severely affected her mind. I'd believe it. I've seen it firsthand twice.
    I am sure that Patsy's treatment is the key to this case. Of course, this can never be proved but I envisage a woman still feeling the effects of her treatment, possibly depressed about her premature menopause, less-than happy and secure with John and under endless pressure from her own standards and need to impress. The kids were starting to be less compliant than they were. It was Christmas and there were a million things to do and while she was packing cases and wrapping yet more gifts and colouring her hair and getting the kids ready, John just went out to the airport and didn't lift a finger to help at home. She was already at the very edge, had a rare glass of wine at the party and something - possibly small - tipped her over the edge at home.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sophie View Post
    I am sure that Patsy's treatment is the key to this case. Of course, this can never be proved but I envisage a woman still feeling the effects of her treatment, possibly depressed about her premature menopause, less-than happy and secure with John and under endless pressure from her own standards and need to impress. The kids were starting to be less compliant than they were. It was Christmas and there were a million things to do and while she was packing cases and wrapping yet more gifts and colouring her hair and getting the kids ready, John just went out to the airport and didn't lift a finger to help at home. She was already at the very edge, had a rare glass of wine at the party and something - possibly small - tipped her over the edge at home.
    Very well said. A perfect storm.
    I'm as mad as HELL and I'm NOT gonna take it anymore!.

  13. #13
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    I have a feeling that the truth will be out..one day...maybe not during my lifetime ( i'm not even 30 yet!!!) but maybe the next generations will know...maybe when Burke confesses on his death bed...or his future wife finds out something...or one of the Ramseys' lawyers lets the cat out of the bag... (talk about wishful thinking)....
    and my gut feeling after following this case is that PDI...
    "To do is to be"-Nietzsche
    "To be is to do"-Kant
    "Do be do do be do"- Sinatra
    Only your song matters in the end..

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sophie View Post
    I am sure that Patsy's treatment is the key to this case. Of course, this can never be proved but I envisage a woman still feeling the effects of her treatment, possibly depressed about her premature menopause, less-than happy and secure with John and under endless pressure from her own standards and need to impress. The kids were starting to be less compliant than they were. It was Christmas and there were a million things to do and while she was packing cases and wrapping yet more gifts and colouring her hair and getting the kids ready, John just went out to the airport and didn't lift a finger to help at home. She was already at the very edge, had a rare glass of wine at the party and something - possibly small - tipped her over the edge at home.
    I completely agree. Perfectly put.
    THIS time, we get it RIGHT!

    This post is my constitutionally-protected opinion. Please do not copy or take it anywhere else.

  15. #15
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    I wonder how often parents actually get away with killing their children either because of misdiagnosed SIDS or police taking 'accidents' at face value or whatever.

    We are always horrified by the statistics about the number of children killed by parents but it's even more galling to think that even more children probably die at their parents' hands without anyone ever realising a crime has been committed.

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