Disease and Conditions

Mother who killed 14-month-old daughter and 10-week-old son while in grip of postnatal depression will not face prison… as banker husband stands by her

  • Jeff Boots still  supports wife Felicia after she smothered their two babies
  • He discovered  tiny bodies in walk-in wardrobe and screamed: ‘Oh my God’
  • Mother insists  she is ‘good person and mum’ in heartbreaking court letter
  • She pleads guilty  to manslaughter and goes to mental hospital NOT prison

By Arthur Martin

PUBLISHED:10:12 EST, 30  October 2012| UPDATED:17:51 EST, 30 October 2012

A mother with postnatal depression killed her  two babies because she had delusions that they would be seized by social  services, a court heard yesterday.

Jewellery designer Felicia Boots, 35,  suffocated her ten-week-old son Mason and 14-month-old daughter Lily days after  the family had moved into a new £1.4million home in an area known as Nappy  Valley because it is popular with young, rich families.

Her husband Jeffery, an investment banker,  returned home that evening to find the house in darkness and his wife sitting on  the stairs, hugging herself.

She had tried to kill herself but inflicted  only superficial damage to her neck.woman suffering postnatal depression has  admitted killing her two babies who were then discovered dead by their father at  the family’s home.

Felicia Boots, 34 who smothered her ten week old son Mason, and 14 month old daughter Lily Skye, was suffering from postnatal depression when she smothered them and laid them side by side in a wardrobeFelicia Boots, 34 who smothered her ten week old son  Mason, and 14 month old daughter Lily Skye, was suffering from postnatal  depression when she smothered them and laid them side by side in a wardrobe

Jeff Boots, who discovered his children's bodies, is supporting his wife who had become worried that her antidepressants medication was harming her sonJeff Boots, who discovered his children’s bodies, is  supporting his wife who had become worried that her antidepressants medication  was harming her son

He ran upstairs and found their children  lying side by side on the floor of a walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom of  the semi-detached house in Wandsworth, south-west London. They had apparently  been strangled with one of his ties, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Boots, 35, was heard wailing: ‘My lovely  son, my beautiful daughter. They have gone. Help me, help me, help me.’

His wife had been diagnosed with postnatal  depression after the birth of both children. She had been prescribed  antidepressant medication and her condition outwardly appeared to be  improving.

Hours before she killed her children she sent  a photograph taken on her mobile phone of Lily to her husband, who took this as  a sign that she was feeling better.

He was unaware that she had stopped taking  the medication because she was worried about its side effects while breast  feeding despite reassurances from her doctor.

Computer records show she made a series of  Google searches about her concerns in the preceding weeks.

‘I AM TRULY SORRY’: FELICIA  BOOTS HEARTBREAKING LETTER

Felicia Boots counsel read a letter to the  court from the mother, who said that she would never forget  the events of May 9 – the day she killed her children.

It read: ‘May 9, 2012, is a day I will be  eternally sorry for.

‘It should never have happened.

‘It troubles me more than anyone will ever  know.

‘Part of me will always be missing.

‘I am a good person.

‘I am a good mum and I never meant any of  this to happen.

‘I am truly  sorry.’

In a note found next to the bodies she ‘questioned how she could have done such a thing’. She wrote how ‘she was scared  and sorry’ and that her ‘life started to fall apart a few weeks  before’.

Her husband called the emergency services but  paramedics were unable to save the children.

His wife, who was ‘unsteady and weak on her  feet’, was arrested.

Mr Boots told officers at the scene that his  wife was a good mother and he ‘could not believe that she would do such a  thing’.

Yesterday Mrs Boots wept as she admitted two  charges of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished  responsibility.

Her not guilty plea to two murder charges was  accepted by prosecutor Ed Brown QC.

Her husband, who was in court, is standing by  his wife. Mr Brown said Mr Boots had written ‘a moving statement supportive of  his wife in very sympathetic terms’.

A statement from Mrs Boots was read to the  court by her lawyer Kate Bex. In it she said: ‘The ninth of May 2012 is a day I  will be eternally sorry for. It should never have happened and it troubles me  more deeply than anyone will ever know. A part of me will always be missing. But  I am a good mum and I never meant this to happen.’

Mr Justice Fulford said a prison sentence  would be ‘wholly inappropriate in this case’. He ordered that she be detained at  a mental health unit until doctors deem her fit for release. ‘This is an almost  indescribably sad case,’ said the judge.

‘Although the roots of Mrs Boots’s actions  were profoundly tragic given the loss of two such young lives, what occurred was  not what most people would regard as criminal activity.

‘I unreservedly accept that what the  defendant did to the two children she and her husband loved and nurtured, was  solely the result of psychological and bio-physiological forces that were beyond  her control.

Mr Justice Fulford said: ‘I unreservedly  accept that what she did  to the two children, that she and her husband loved  and nurtured, were  the results of physical and biological factors beyond her  control’

‘This has always been a happy family. This is  someone who delighted in  being a mother and she was good at it.

‘This case is the polar opposite  of the  appalling incidents of child neglect and cruelty that sometimes  come before the  courts.’

Canada-born Mrs Boots had married a fellow  Jehovah’s Witness shortly  after she left high school but the marriage failed  when she left the  church.

She married Mr Boots in August 2007 and the  couple moved to the  UK in 2008.

That same year her brother Scott Sinclair  committed suicide in his Toronto apartment after also abandoning the  religion.

Although most women have the ‘baby blues’ for  a short time, one in ten  goes on to suffer full-blown clinical depression which  is unlikely to  improve without treatment.

Four women in every 1,000 giving birth have  to be admitted to hospital,

Jeff Boots and his wife Felicia Boots were a 'contented couple'. Mrs Boots had begun to suffer from depression and left a note saying she could not explain why she had killed her childrenJeff Boots and his wife Felicia Boots were a ‘contented  couple’. Mrs Boots had begun to suffer from depression and left a note saying  she could not explain why she had killed her children

THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF  POSTNATAL DEPRESSION

Postnatal depression typically develops in  the first one to two months after childbirth, but can develop several months  later.

Low mood, believing you are unable to cope  and difficulty sleeping are all common symptoms of the  depression.

Mood changes, irritability and tearfulness  are all common after birth but normally fade shortly after birth.

If the symptoms persist, it could indicate  postnatal depression.

As long as postnatal depression is recognised  and treated, it is a temporary condition you can recover from, the NHS assures  patients.

It is very important to seek treatment as it  is unlikely to ‘cure’ itself.

Treatment for postnatal depression includes  self-help advice, cognitive behavioural therapy and antidepressant  medicine.

PND is thought to be the result of several  things including physical and emotional stress of looking after a newborn baby,  hormonal changes and social problems inclduing anxiety over  money.

Women deemed more at risk of PND are those  who have a previous history of depression.

Source:  NHS

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