Sunday 23 July 2017

Loving mum stabbed to death by daughter she refused to commit to hospital

Elizabeth Donnelly. Photo: PA
Elizabeth Donnelly. Photo: PA

Kim Pilling

A WOMAN was stabbed to death by her mentally ill daughter just days after she refused to allow her to be taken into care.

Family concerns for the health of Elizabeth Donnelly, 27, of Preston, Lancashire, led to a police officer trying to encourage her to go to hospital.



But Valerie Donnelly, 62, insisted her daughter was not unwell and did not feel threatened by her.



The defendant walked into her housing office on March 25 and told a receptionist: "The bottom of the stairs. My mum is dead."



Police called to their home in Preesall Road and discovered the body of the victim lying behind the door.



She had received 80 stab and slash wounds to the back, head, face and neck.



Donnelly was arrested but was not fit to be interviewed for nearly three months, Preston Crown Court heard.



William Waldron, prosecuting, said Donnelly eventually told police she had killed her mother after she tried to lock her in the house.



She went upstairs after the attack but returned several times to stab her again because she was convinced she could hear noises from her mother.



"She believed that the knives were not doing the job adequately because her mother was wearing some kind of body armour," Mr Waldron said.



"She also claimed that her guardian angel called Femiata was to some degree controlling her actions."



A total of 11 knives were later recovered from the address.



Donnelly pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.



She will be detained indefinitely at secure hospital Guild Lodge in Preston, until she is deemed no longer a risk of causing serious harm to the public.



The court was told that Donnelly made the confession at Gateway Housing Offices in Preston where she was a tenant.



She was known to have made frequent visits to the office with complaints about her neighbours that turned out to be untrue.



In the run-up to the killing, which possibly took place on March 24, her cousin and her father both thought she was unwell.



A police officer visited her home and tried to persuade her to go to hospital on March 22 but had no option but to leave when her mother dismissed the worries.



Known to the mental health authorities, Donnelly also had an appointment due with an emergency team just a few days after the killing.



Mr Waldron said: "If the term 'tragedy' could be applied to any circumstances then surely this is it."



The court heard medical evidence that Donnelly had since been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had suffered from the condition for several years.



Sentencing, Mr Justice Clarke said in the circumstances the killing was "as violent as it was tragic" and that her responsibility was substantially impaired by her illness.



"I am satisfied on the evidence I have read that you suffer from a severe mental disorder - paranoid schizophrenia with symptoms of persecutory delusions and auditory hallucinations which require you to be detained in hospital," he told her.



She can only be released by a Secretary of State on the advice of the responsible clinicians.



Detective Chief Inspector Neil Esseen, from the Force Major Investigation Team, said: "This was a tragic crime and such an unnecessary loss of a woman's life. Our thoughts are with Valerie's family at this difficult time and I hope today's result will bring them some small comfort as they continue to come to terms with their loss."



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