Thursday 18 January 2018

Mum gets 32 years for killing children to hurt their father

Tragic children Harry (3) and Elise (2)
Tragic children Harry (3) and Elise (2)
Estranged lover Paul Donnison
Fiona Donnison (45) sensetenced for a minimum of 32 years

Jennifer Cockerell

The father of two young children murdered by their mother following the breakdown of their relationship slammed the criminal justice system last night claiming that he felt he was on trial.

Fiona Donnison (45) was jailed for a minimum of 32 years after being handed two life sentences when jurors found her unanimously guilty of murdering three-year-old Harry and two-year-old Elise Donnison.

The former City worker went into Heathfield police station in East Sussex on the morning of January 27 last year and told officers she had killed her children.

After searching the area officers found the children's smothered bodies zipped up in two holdalls in the boot of her Nissan car which was parked nearby and around the corner from Meadowside, the former family home, Lewes Crown Court heard.

Prosecutors believe the reason it was parked there and not on the drive of the large detached house was because after killing the children she had planned also to kill their father, Paul Donnison, with evidence suggesting she had lain in wait for him armed with two kitchen knives.

Speaking outside the court following his former partner's sentencing, Mr Donnison (48) said that in contrast to the way he was treated, he felt the defendant was treated with "kid gloves" and did not even have to give evidence herself.

He said: "I attended court as often as I was able to, but often felt that it was I that was on trial. Despite killing my children, she didn't even have the courage to take to the stand to explain herself.

"Despite admitting to the killings and being detained, she seemed to have more rights and considerations than I had.

"It is the system itself. It is wrong, it is biased in favour of the criminal and it is clearly unfair."

He spoke minutes after the judge revoked an order that had previously prevented the reporting of the fact prosecutors wanted Donnison also to be tried for the murder of her first child with Mr Donnison, a daughter named Mia who died of suspected cot death in April 2004, when aged nine months.

However, in a hearing last December, it was decided there was not enough evidence to charge her.

Donnison kept her head bowed as the judge described the murders as "deliberate and wicked acts".

"You killed them, you who were their mother," 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."

He said jurors had rejected her defence that she was suffering from serious depression and was not in her right mind at the time of the killings.

The four-week trial heard Donnison, who was not married to the children's father but had changed her name by deed poll without telling him, had suddenly moved out of Meadowside without telling him five months before the deaths.


Jurors were told that on September 1 2009,Mr Donnison came home from work to find the defendant had moved out, taking Harry and Elise and her two teenage sons from her first marriage with her.

She would not tell him where she had gone at first but he later found out she had moved into a house in Lightwater, Surrey.

He and the defendant later reconciled but Donnison remained jealous of Alison Shimmens (48) an old school friend he had starting seeing after she left.

Jurors heard the couple finally decided to end their relationship on January 14 last year.

Irish Independent

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