| 8.9°C Dublin

Babies allegedly murdered by mum were suffocated – inquest told

TWO babies allegedly murdered by their mother were suffocated, an inquest heard today.

Lily Boots, 14-months-old, and her 10-week-old brother Mason were found unconscious by their father when he returned from work last week.

Their mother Felicia Boots, 34, who is believed to be suffering from post-natal depression, was arrested at the semi-detached home in Wandsworth, south-west London, and later charged with two counts of murder.

At inquest openings for Lily and Mason today, Westminster Coroner's Court heard the provisional cause of death for both was asphyxia.

Lily Skye, born on March 1 last year in Tooting, and Mason Godfrey Robert, born on February 28 this year, also in Tooting, were both identified by their father, investment banker Jeff Boots, who was not at today's hearing.

Detective Inspector Paul Clack told the court police and the ambulance service were called to the family's home in Killarney Road at 7.25pm last Wednesday to reports that two children had been found dead.

"They attended the scene and found the mother of the children, Felicia Boots, who was present at the address and father Jeffrey Boots together with two children, Lily Skye and Mason Godfrey, who were found to be dead in a bedroom at the address.

"Mr Boots had returned from work and found the situation."

He said Mrs Boots, who was described as a housewife at today's hearing, was arrested on suspicion of murder at 9.28pm that night and was taken to Battersea Police Station.

She was charged with two counts of murder and appeared in court on Saturday, Mr Clack said.

He told the court she was too ill to appear at a hearing at the Old Bailey this week, and had been detained in a psychiatric hospital under the Mental Health Act.

She was remanded in custody to appear again on August 10.

Mr Clack said a post mortem examination took place on Friday, adding: "The provisional cause of death was asphyxia for both children."

Coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox opened and adjourned the inquest for police to continue their investigation.

She told the court: "I formally open and adjourn the inquests into the deaths of Lily Skye Boots and Mason Godfrey Robert Boots in the public interest to allow the investigation of what appears to be their murders, by the police."

She set an additional provisional review date of November 5.