Although the lawyers acting for a woman accused of killing her baby, which had been born with the congenital brain disease hydrocephalus, initially accepted a sentence of eleven years in jail, following the testimony of a consultant psychiatrist the term has now been reduced to just six years.
The mother, who distrusted traditional medicine, discharged her ten-month-old child from a hospital in Zürich and fled to Torrevieja on Christmas eve in 2013
The baby was born with hydrocephalus – it’s head was larger than usual – so an operation was necessary to place a valve in his skull to release the pressure from his brain.
The mother stated that she has always believed in natural medicine and attributed the baby’s condition to a treatment she received while pregnant, an oral infection for which doctors carried out several x-rays prior to performing minor surgery.
She maintains that the hydrocephalus was caused by these treatments, since, at the time, she was not aware that she was pregnant and, therefore, she underwent the medical procedures.
As a result of her mistrust of modern medicine, when the child was eventually born and diagnosed with its condition, the medical staff recommended tests and subsequent treatment, but she rejected their advice, walking out of the Zurich hospital with her baby.
Swiss police then issued a warrant for her arrest and ordered that the child be taken into care by social services, by which time she had fled to Spain. However in January 2014 a neighbour recognised her in a Torrevieja supermarket after seeing her photograph on the news. She was arrested by the Guardia Civil and the baby was moved into Torrevieja Hospital where it underwent further treatment.
The woman was allowed to remain at her baby’s side in hospital whilst it received medical attention.
Despite being supervised by two Guardia Civil officers she was allowed to take the baby into the washing area on the pretence of giving it a bath, when she took out a carving knife with an 18 inch blade, and cut the baby’s jugular and trachea in three places. She then attempted to commit suicide by stabbing herself in the neck, although the hospital’s medical staff were able to save her life. Unfortunately they were unable to save the baby which died almost immediately from a loss of blood.
The defendant acknowledged all of these facts on Monday when she appeared in the Provincial Court of Alicante, based in Elche, where she was charged with the baby’s murder.
In her defence she stated that she never wanted her child to undergo traditional medical treatments which she distrusted, as she much preferred natural therapies -homeopathy- and Chinese and Hindu medicine.
The agents who were guarding the woman at the time said that she asked to give a bath to the child before going to court. After consulting with the medical staff, the agents gave their approval. Both watched the mother through the door to the bathroom room, when they saw her making a strange movement, standing on tiptoe, and looking in her purse.
Prior to her arrest, she had hidden a knife in her bag which had not been noticed by the police. She was able to kill the child before the agents realised what was going on.
They said that it happened very quickly and even though they were close by they were able to intervene in time.
As the trial continued the psychiatrist who is currently treating the woman, was asked to clarify her mental condition, evidence that defence lawyers used as further mitigation in order to reduce the punishment.
He spoke of the “pressure, stress and loneliness from which the mother suffered, as she cared for her child that was suffering from a very serious illness.”
“She is suffering from a very serious disorder. At the time of the events she was not fully aware of what she was doing. She made a decision that was maybe wrong, but now the person who is suffering the most, is the mother, “concluded the lawyer.
The jury gave its approval to the agreement reached by the Prosecutor’s Office and the defence lawyer, and were able to reach its verdict within two days.
The defence lawyer thanked the Prosecutor’s willingness to reach a further agreement that “we believe is beneficial in that the penalty is reduced to six years. As the defendant has been in prison since she committed the crime in January 2014, she has already served four years of the sentence and for the remaining period of her sentence she could be released on licence.