- 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
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.
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,
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.
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