Felicia Boots admits killing her two babies

Police officers outside the house where the children were found The bodies of Lily and Mason were found in the family's home in Wandsworth

Related Stories

A mother who suffered postnatal depression has admitted killing her two children at their home.

Felicia Boots, 35, killed Lily Boots, aged 14 months, and her 10-week-old brother Mason in Wandsworth, south-west London, in May.

Her manslaughter plea on the grounds of diminished responsibility was accepted by the prosecution at the Old Bailey, and murder charges were dropped.

She was ordered to be detained at a psychiatric hospital.

The judge, Mr Justice Fulford, said the case was indescribably sad and what she did was a result of psychological forces beyond her control.

A preliminary inquest hearing found the two children had been suffocated.

Her husband Jeff found the children lying side by side on the floor of a walk-in wardrobe when he arrived home on 9 May. She had also tried to kill herself.

'Good mum'

Boots, who was in court to enter her plea, gave a note to her counsel Kate Bex to read.

Analysis

Many women are tearful and have mood changes shortly after birth - the so-called "baby blues". These normally go within a few weeks.

Postnatal depression is different.

It's a specific type of depression that some women (and men) experience after they have had a baby.

It usually develops in the first four to six weeks after childbirth, triggered by a number of factors including the stress of looking after a newborn baby.

Unlike the "baby blues", the symptoms of tiredness and low mood persist for months if left untreated and in a minority of cases can become a long-term problem.

Some women who have postnatal depression get thoughts about harming their baby. This is quite common, affecting around half of all women with the condition.

But it is very rare that these feelings are acted upon.

It is important to recognise signs of postnatal depression as early as possible and seek professional advice.

Treatments that help include antidepressant medication as well as talking therapies, support and advice.

Postnatal depression: The Royal College of Psychiatrists

Postnatal Depression

It said: "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."

'Tragic case'

The court heard Boots had been detained at a psychiatric unit since the deaths and the prosecution's decision followed consideration of doctors' reports.

The couple had moved to the UK in the past few years from Canada.

The court was told that Boots suffered postnatal depression following the births of both children, but appeared to be getting better.

She had been prescribed anti-depressants but had not been taking them after becoming convinced the babies would be taken away from her because of the effects of the drugs on her breast milk.

Edward Brown QC, prosecuting, told the court the Crown had closely examined the medical evidence and spoken to Boots' husband, who was in court.

"This plainly is a tragic case," he said

"There were signs Mrs Boots had made an attempt on her own life. She had marks to her neck."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC London

Weather

London

Min. Night 16 °C

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.