herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Mum who stabbed son to death with scissors jailed for five years

Hazel Waters who killed her two-year-old son Hassan during a psychotic episode
Hazel Waters who killed her two-year-old son Hassan during a psychotic episode

A beautician who stabbed her toddler son to death with a pair of scissors while under a delusion that he was a 'clone' has been jailed for five years.

Hazel Waters (46) was sentenced to seven years in prison with the final two suspended.

Waters, who had been a "devoted mother" but suffered from a personality disorder, had a psychotic episode when she killed two-year-old Hassan at their south Dublin apartment.

Sentencing her at the Central Criminal Court, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said one "cannot but be moved by the event".

Tragic

"Nobody would doubt that it's a particularly tragic thing that a child of this age would be killed unlawfully by his mother."

Waters, of Ridge Hall, Ballybrack, stared at the judge but showed no emotion as he passed sentence.

She had admitted the manslaughter of Muhammad Hassan Khan between October 15 and 16, 2014.

She had originally been charged with murder but she denied that charge and the prosecution accepted her manslaughter plea.

Judge McCarthy noted that the treating doctor said Waters had declined to engage in psychotherapy and would not "give any explanation as to the event itself".

He said he felt that the appropriate sentence would be one of eight to 10 years but taking into account her guilty plea he reduced that to seven years with two suspended.

"It is in society's interest that she be reintroduced to society in a structured manner and remain in medical treatment."

A condition of the suspension is that Waters submits herself to the Probation Service and engages in any medical treatment deemed necessary for her rehabilitation.

The judge backdated the sentence to October 16, 2014 when Waters first went into custody.

The court heard that she killed Hassan and left his body at home before going to her sister-in-law's house where gardai were called.

Officers found Hassan in his bedroom with the scissors still in his neck and his mother's bloody footprint beside his body.

Waters had no history of psychiatric problems but had since been diagnosed with an underlying emotionally unstable personality disorder which in acute circumstances could give rise to a psychotic state, according to psychiatrists.

She had separated from her husband and was found to be have been under "extreme stress".

Killing

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

Hassan had died from two deep wounds. The accused did not recall the events of the killing.

In a text to her older son Jessie that morning, she had said: "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.

Victim impact statements by members of Waters' family and her estranged husband Saleem Khan were previously heard by the court.

Her sister Olivia said the family were "double victims" of the tragedy, and they had never fully recovered.

Mr Khan said he had returned to Pakistan and forgave his wife "for this hideous crime".

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