Saturday 17 March 2018

Killer mother appeals sentence for murdering Harry (3) and Elise (2)

Fiona Donnison. Photo: PA
Fiona Donnison. Photo: PA
Elise and Harry Donnison. Photo: PA

Cathy Gordon

A MOTHER who murdered her two young children and placed their bodies in holdalls in the boot of her car after her relationship with their father broke down will appeal against her sentence today.

Former City worker Fiona Donnison, 45, of Lightwater, Surrey, was given two life sentences and ordered to serve at least 32 years behind bars last August after jurors convicted her of the murders of three-year-old Harry and two-year-old Elise.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London will review the length of the minimum term to decide whether it is "manifestly excessive".

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting with Mr Justice Openshaw and Mr Justice Irwin, are expected to be given details relating to her mental state.

Donnison went into Heathfield police station in East Sussex on the morning of January 27, 2010 and told officers she had killed her children.

A search of the area located them in the boot of her Nissan car, which was parked in Mill Close, Heathfield, around the corner from Meadowside, the former family home.

Jurors at Lewes Crown Court found her unanimously guilty of murder after hearing she had smothered them with their bedding the night before.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Nicol, described the murders as "deliberate and wicked acts".

He said: "Why you did this defies logical explanation. It seems it can only have something to do with your feelings for Paul Donnison, the children's father and your former partner."

The judge said the jury had rejected her defence that she was suffering from serious depression and was not in her right mind.

Donnison, who was described as a narcissist with an overdeveloped sense of self-importance and entitlement, declined to give evidence during the trial.

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