Husband Jeff Boots returned from work to find 14-month-old Lily and 10-week-old Mason on the floor of a walk-in-wardrobe. An inquest found that both children had been suffocated and Mrs Boots had also attempted to kill herself.
The couple had recently moved to the UK from their home in Canada.
This week the prosecution at the Old Bailey accepted Mrs Boots’ manslaughter plea on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Mrs Boots gave a note to her counsel Kate Bex. In it, she wrote: “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.”
Mrs Boots has been detained at a psychiatric unit since the death of her children.
The court heard the new mother had been prescribed anti-depressants but had refused to take them after becoming convinced the drugs would affect her breast milk, and that her children would consequently be taken away from her.
In a Telegraph article published yesterday, Professor Louise Howard of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry wrote about the dangers of postnatal depression (PND) and warned mothers to get help if they suspect they have this ‘very treatable’ condition.
Symptoms of PND include:
- difficulty sleeping even when the baby is sleeping
- bouts of low mood and emotional highs
- lack of enjoyment or interest in things
- extreme fatigue and tearfulness
- negative thoughts and hopelessness about the future.
Of course, most new mothers experience some of the above to varying degrees, but if they persist for a long time then professional support may be beneficial. Less common symptoms include self-harm and suicidal thoughts. If these occur, you are advised to seek help from a GP or counsellor as soon as possible.
For more information about how counsellors can help mothers, please head over to our Postnatal Depression page.