A Wales woman has pleaded guilty to murdering her 7-week-old son after claiming that voices in her head told her she was a bad mother, according to a BBC News report. Hannah Turtle, 22, had allegedly tried to murder the infant boy several times over a brief period before finally succeeding, police say.
Turtle had been on trial for the June 2016 murder of then-7-week-old James Turtle. After initially pleading not guilty, she changed her plea to guilty mid-way through her trial.
On at least three occasions during a 10-day period, Hannah allegedly attempted to kill James by pinching his nose in order to suffocate him. On the first two occasions, he was taken to a hospital and later revived. However, on the third occasion, Turtle allegedly pinched the infant’s nose while hospital staff members were away and she was alone with him, and he died of oxygen deprivation. He died on June 13, 2016.
Turtle also pleaded guilty to five other counts of criminal mistreatment of her son, including attempting to murder him by poisoning him with anti-depressants.
According to a companion BBC News report about the case, a social worker testified that Turtle smiled when calmly explaining that she had murdered her son.
“I just put my hand over his face for a few seconds and he stopped breathing.”
BREAKING: Hannah Turtle changes plea to GUILTY of baby murderhttps://t.co/0d0OkJQ3MX
— Daily Post Wales (@dailypostwales) February 20, 2018
Turtle had been known to be suffering from mental illness after James’ birth, according to a February 13 BBC News report. Social workers testified that she told them she had been “feeling low” following James’ birth. Similarly, she claimed on many occasions to have heard the voices of family members in her head, telling her that she was a bad mother. A doctor testified that he spoke to Turtle and noted that she was “tearful, anxious and had thoughts of self-harm.”
She also claimed that she had been mentally ill since before James was born, stating that she suffered abuse from her father as a small child.
Turtle’s defender, Gordon Cole QC, told the court that there was psychiatric evidence that would help the jury understand his client’s mental state, according to the Daily Star. Similarly, Cole told reporters that post-partum depression (or “post-natal depression,” as it’s called in the U.K.) was “an issue” in this case, but that it did not come up during the trial.
Turtle has yet to be sentenced. She is facing life in prison, although the judge in this case has noted that he will have to consider Turtle’s mental state when handing down the sentence.