Thursday 23 November 2017

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

Hazel Waters Inset: Hassan
Hazel Waters Inset: Hassan

Andrew Phelan

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 under conditions. She had the sentence handed down at the Central Criminal Court this morning.

Hassan (2) was killed in his home
Hassan (2) was killed in his home

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

Sentencing her, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said one “cannot but be moved by the event. Nobody would doubt that it’s a particularly tragic thing that a child of this age would be killed unlawfully by his mother.”

Hazel Waters
Hazel Waters

Waters stared intently at the judge but showed no emotion as he passed sentence.

Waters of Ridge Hall, Ballybrack had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Muhammad Hassan Khan between 15-16 October, 2014.  She had originally been charged with murder but she denied that charge and the prosecution accepted her manslaughter plea.

Judge McCarthy said the only mitigating factor he could consider was her plea of guilty.

The court heard she killed her son and left his body at their south Dublin apartment before going to her sister-in-law’s house, where the gardai were called.

Officers then went to Waters’ home to find the child in his bedroom with the scissors in his neck and his mother’s bloody footprint beside the body.

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

She had separated from her husband, whom she alleged had been abusive, and was found to be have been under “extreme stress.”

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

Previously, Detective Sergeant Joe O’Hara said Waters was distressed when she went to the home of her sister in law Maria Waters.

When asked where Hassan was, she told her sister in law “they had taken him” but was unable to say who “they” were or where he was.

There had been a previous CRI child safety alert and the gardai were called.

When the gardai went inside Waters' apartment, it was in disarray, with a lot of material that had been torn and put into bags.

The body of the child was found in his bedroom.

Staining from what appeared to be blood splattering was on Waters' jeans.

The accused did not recall the events of the killing.

In a text to her older son Jessie on the morning Hassan died, she had said, “they are coming for me now. 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, when she could not gain access to the apartment.

When told she was suspected of her son's  murder Waters said she would never hurt him.

She could not recall sending the text to Jessie and asked why she would mention cloning, she said “I have no idea.”

She could not explain scrapes on her face. The court heard Waters had begun acting strangely before the killing.

She had been in a relationship with Hassan’s father, Saleem Khan, since 2008 and alleged it was abusive both mentally and physically on occasion.

Victim impact statements by members of Waters’ family and 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.

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

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

"It is clearly a case where as she is reintroduced into the community, she must in her own interest and the interest of the community submit to treatment,” the judge said.

He said she had the benefit of a lesser level of moral culpability for homicide because of her plea to manslaughter.

He measured the appropriate sentencing starting point was around eight to ten years, and the only mitigating factor he could give her credit for was her plea itself.

“It is in society’s interest that she be reintroduced to society in a structured manner and remain in medical treatment,” the judge said.

“In those circumstances I am going to suspend the last two years on her entering a bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for four years on release.”

Another condition of the suspension is that she submits herself to the directions of the Probation Service and engages in any medical treatment deemed necessary for the purpose of rehabilitation.

She must reside on release at a place determined by the probation service.

“One would hope that that will effectively act by way of reintroducing her to society,” he said.

He backdated the sentence to October 16, 2014, when Waters went into custody. It is understood that she will be returned to the Central Mental Hospital for treatment.

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