South West Wales

Depressed mother who killed baby walks free from court

A review has been ordered into the case of a mother who killed her baby daughter in 2006 after suffering severe post-natal depression.

The woman from the Swansea area was given a community order after being sentenced for infanticide and a serious assault on a second child.

The court heard it was an "exceptional" case.

Swansea Crown Court heard the baby girl died after being shaken by her mother when she was just a few weeks old.

A second child was born not long after and it too suffered brain, leg and arm injuries after being shaken - but survived.

Last December the mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted charges of infanticide and causing grievous bodily harm.

The sentencing hearing was told the mother had suffered from a severe mental illness, a serious post natal depression.

Two psychiatrists had written reports into the mothers medical condition.

The judge Mr Justice Wyn Williams Kt said such cases were "incredibly difficult and sensitive".

Elwen Evans QC, defending, said the case had "a very long, complex and quite exceptional history".

She told the court that a custodial sentence was rare in such circumstances.

'Inexcusable delay'

The judge said the mother had entered guilty pleas to infanticide and inflicting grievous bodily harm at the first opportunity.

The mother listened in tears as the judge said her "culpability for her actions was low" and it would be "wholly disproportionate" to impose a prison sentence.

Mr Justice Wyn Williams said the mother should be made subject of a community order and a three year supervision order and told her she was free to go.

During the hearing, the court heard it was several years before the police had finally been disclosed detailed reports into the case and she was charged in February last year.

In a separate hearing involving this case in the family court last month, Mr Justice Moor criticised South Wales Police for what he called an "inexcusable" delay.

The Western Bay Safeguarding Children Board, which represents all agencies involved in child protection, announced a review into the case would be carried out by an independent expert.

The findings of the review will be published later this year.

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