herald

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Woman thought son (2) was a 'clone' when she stabbed him, court told

Muhammad Hassan Khan
Muhammad Hassan Khan

A beautician stabbed her toddler son to death with a pair of scissors while suffering from a delusion that he was a "clone", a court has heard.

Hazel Waters (47) left two-year-old Hassan's body at her apartment and went to her sister-in-law's house, where gardai were called.

Officers then went to Waters' home and found the child in his bedroom with the scissors in his neck and his mother's bloody footprint beside the body.

The Central Criminal Court heard Waters, a "devoted mother", had an emotionally unstable personality disorder, was under extreme stress and had suffered a psychotic episode when she killed her son.

Psychiatrists said that while she was not considered insane in law, her mental state left her with diminished responsibility at the time of the killing.

Waters, of Ridge Hall, Ballybrack, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Muhammad Hassan Khan between October 15 and 16, 2014. Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy adjourned her sentence hearing to June 1.

In a victim impact statement, her sister Olivia said the family were "double victims" of the 2014 tragedy and had never fully recovered.

Detective Sergeant Joe O'Hara said that when Waters went to the home of her sister-in-law, Maria Waters, she was in a distressed state.

When asked where Hassan was, she told Maria "they had taken him".

She was unable to say who "they" were or where he was.

There had been a previous Child Rescue Ireland child safety alert and the gardai were called.

When gardai went inside Waters' apartment, it was in disarray, with a lot of material that had been torn and put into bags.

Splattering

The body of the child was found in his bedroom. He had a pair of scissors in his neck, to the left side.

Staining from what appeared to be blood splattering was on Waters' jeans.

The accused did not recall the events of the killing.

In a text to her older son Jessie on the morning Hassan died, she had said, "they are coming for me now. Hassan is a fake child and they are making people and children to look the same".

A social worker had tried to contact her up to the morning of the killing, when she could not gain access to the apartment.

When told she was suspected of her son's murder, Waters said she would never hurt him.

"I definitely did not harm my son. I would never harm him," she told gardai.

"When asked about his death, she was unable to recall, or did not wish to recall," said Luan O Braonain, prosecuting.

Waters could not recall sending the text to Jessie and, asked why she would mention cloning, she said "I have no idea".

She had scrapes on her face and, when asked how she got them, she again said "I have no idea".

The court heard Waters had begun acting strangely before the killing.

She had been in a relationship with Hassan's father, Saleem Khan, since 2008 and alleged it was abusive both mentally and physically on occasion.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Khan said he had returned to Pakistan and forgave his wife "for this hideous crime".

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