UK woman jailed for over 30 years for killing her two teenage daughters. Considered by the court not to be mentally ill. Is that even possible? Can somebody kill another without being ill in the mind in some way?
I agree that to kill someone you have to be on a different page than the majority. To kill you're own that has to proof of some kind of mental illness. For the human mind to justify this action there has to be something seriously wrong. It reminds me of the Yates case, that poor woman was mentally ill you could see it in her eyes. The sad part, I felt, was she had continuous episodes of mental illness yet she kept having children. This is my opinion only, I feel the father should have realized his wife was in trouble and stoped with the babies. He should have kept her from being alone. This leads to a serious issue of child endangerment by the father, I wonder why that wasn't investigated.
"Not guilty by reason of insanity" is a particular plea, and doesn't cover lots of people who would be seen as nuts.
She didn't plead insanity, though, she pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. That is one of a number of special pleas only open to those charged with murder. Another, for example, is provocation, where the pleas is guilty to manslaughter by reason of provocation.
Interestingly (to me, at least) murder isn't a statutory crime here. There is no written law which says murder is a crime. Like a few others, it's a common law offence.
So if I'm writing an indictment in relation to, say, grevious bodily harm, I'd write, "it is said against you that you did, on 12th September 2009, assault John Smith, thereby occasioning him grevious bodily harm, contrary to s.18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861."
On a murder indictment, it might say, "it is said against you that you did, on 12th Sept 2009, murder John Smith, contrary to the Common Law."
well maybe i should read more about this woman as i don't have enough facts.
this reminds me of Andrea Yates. she suffered from severe mental illness and stress for many years. her husband was fully aware of her sickness but left her alone for long stretches with her five little ones. one day she just snapped and drowned them all one-by-one in the bathtub. her oldest son's wet sock by the front door told the gruesome tale that he made it that far when she fell on him. he had witnessed the drownings of his siblings...i can't begin to imagine the terror he must have endured.
To kill your own children makes you insane (what's the only sane reason, self-defense?). If she sounded coherent and wasn't displaying obviously psychotic behavior, maybe they were lulled into thinking she was sane.
I reckon you definitely have to be insane to do something like this, but actually for the insanity plea they are not really checking whether or not you are mentally ill, they are checking whether or not you knew what you were doing and that it was wrong. Not everyone who is mentally ill is elligable to submit a plea of not guilty through diminished responsibility (the instanity plea).
I think it's a matter of the difference between a sociopath and a "crazy" person. We think of what sociopaths do as "insane", but their actions aren't coming from the "same place" as someone who is clinically insane (even if temporarily). Not long ago there was a program on about a guy determined to be a sociopathic killer. They did brain scans on him and saw that the part of the brain associated with empathy wasn't well developed in him. Whether or not this was a genetic predisposition, or whether something happened after he was born, were not understood enough for the experts to comment on that. Other than his sociopath personality, the guy was viewed as "not insane" at all. Based on this, one would think that sociopaths may more be "mentally handicapped", rather than mentally ill. Based on that thinking, though, a whole lot of killers would be "not guilty by reason of not having a completely developed brain".
In fact, it's said that a lot of crime (not just killing) comes from people lacking empathy for their victims. A lot of criminals know they're doing wrong but do it anyway, because part of being a sociopath (or bordering on being one) is also being narcissistic enough to think they'll get away it (and even outsmart the legal system if they're charged at all).
I saw this story on the news today it is truely sad, those poor girls. As for why she did it, I don't know. Why do people do these terrible thing's, I guess that's for the legal system and the experts to decide?
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