Woman admits killing autistic son, 12, with bleach

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A mother has admitted killing her 12-year-old autistic son by making him drink bleach.

Ajit Singh-Mahal was found at the family home in Barking, east London, in February.

His mother, Satpal Kaur-Singh, 44, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. She had denied the boy's murder.

The case at the Old Bailey has been adjourned for psychiatric reports. She will be sentenced on 13 December.

'Great tragedy'

Social workers at Barking and Dagenham Council had concerns about Manchester-born Singh in the months before she killed her son, the court heard.

Ajit "was dependant on his mother for all his needs", could not speak so had trouble communicating, and had difficulty getting around outdoors.

Richard Whittam QC, prosecuting, said: "This is a case of great tragedy."

Kaur-Singh, of Lambourne Road, killed her son Ajit hours after she refused to co-operate with council staff at a meeting on 9 February called to review his care, the Old Bailey heard.

Start Quote

You have to do it. Go for it, it's come to an end now”

End Quote The voices Kaur-Singh told officers she was hearing

Mr Whittam said: "Social services had concerns about a number of things, including Satpal's parenting skills and her lack of co-operation."

She had appeared calm during the meeting and no-one else who attended had "any concerns about her immediate behaviour", the court was told.

But Kaur-Singh was upset and crying later when she called her sister to give the "bad news", the court heard.

That evening Kaur-Singh made Ajit drink a cup of bleach, before consuming some herself an hour later.

She then called 999 and said: "I've just murdered my son and I've tried to kill myself."

'Overpowering smell'

Kaur-Singh had made complaints against a number of people, including her husband, neighbours and members of social services, and a neighbour said she had a habit of "blowing everything out of proportion", Mr Whittam said.

When officers arrived at the house following the 999 call they found an "overpowering" smell of bleach and saw Ajit lying on the living room sofa.

Mr Whittam said: "His eyes were closed and his right arm was hanging down by his side.

"There was a patch of vomit on the floor near his feet.

"The defendant was lying on the floor holding a mobile telephone to her ear, and a cup of bleach next to her."

In a suicide note found at the home, Kaur-Singh said she had been "scrutinised and hounded by social services".

Later Kaur-Singh told police she heard voices in her head, which said: "You have to do it. Go for it, it's come to an end now."

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death as ingestion of a "caustic liquid". Ajit had also suffered multiple organ failures.

A spokesman for Barking and Dagenham Council said there would be a serious case review.

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