A MOTHER who believed she was freeing her
only daughter of evil spirits when she killed her with a single stab
wound has been found not guilty of murder by reason of mental
The woman, who cannot be named, heard "messages from
God" and was convinced she was helping her 15-year-old daughter
become an angel when she took her life at their Penshurst home on
August 16, 2003.
The teenager and her mother had arrived in Australia from their
former home in St Petersburg, Russia, just six months earlier.
They came to Sydney to be reunited with the girl's father who is
from St Petersburg, but a permanent Australian resident.
But in July 2003 the mother became depressed and began to have
nightmares that she later described to police as "so horrible that I
feel like my heart breaks into pieces in the dream".
In the days before the killing she had a major panic attack, was
taken to hospital and prescribed anti-depressants.
The mother, 38, had hallucinations and heard the "voice of God".
She complained to family and friends of an uncontrollable fear
that she could not explain.
In a judge-only trial at the NSW Supreme Court yesterday, Justice
David Kirby accepted the evidence of four psychiatric experts who
agreed the mother was mentally ill at the time of the killing and
didn't know she was doing wrong.
Justice Kirby ordered that she be detained for treatment at Bunya
Forensic Unit at Cumberland Hospital.