Mother who stabbed daughter to “free her from evil spirits” found not guilty by reason of mental illness — (The Advertiser)

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http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,10292383%255E421,00.html

The Advertiser

31 jul 04

God ‘told’ mother to kill her daughter

A MOTHER who believed she was freeing her only daughter of evil spirits when she killed her with a single stab wound has been found not guilty of murder by reason of mental illness.

The woman, who cannot be named, heard “messages from God” and was convinced she was helping her 15-year-old daughter become an angel when she took her life at their Penshurst home on August 16, 2003.

The teenager and her mother had arrived in Australia from their former home in St Petersburg, Russia, just six months earlier.

They came to Sydney to be reunited with the girl’s father who is from St Petersburg, but a permanent Australian resident.

But in July 2003 the mother became depressed and began to have nightmares that she later described to police as “so horrible that I feel like my heart breaks into pieces in the dream”.

In the days before the killing she had a major panic attack, was taken to hospital and prescribed anti-depressants.

The mother, 38, had hallucinations and heard the “voice of God”.

She complained to family and friends of an uncontrollable fear that she could not explain.

In a judge-only trial at the NSW Supreme Court yesterday, Justice David Kirby accepted the evidence of four psychiatric experts who agreed the mother was mentally ill at the time of the killing and didn’t know she was doing wrong.

Justice Kirby ordered that she be detained for treatment at Bunya Forensic Unit at Cumberland Hospital.