A mother accused of attempting to murder her two young sons by trying to strangle and gas them has pleaded guilty to alternative offences of child cruelty at Bradford Crown Court today.
The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identities of the children, was brought to court by nursing staff at the psychiatric hospital where she now resides.
The mother, in her 40s and from the Bradford area, was charged with attempting to murder the boys by strangulation and carbon monoxide gas.
Barrister for the Crown, Stephen Wood QC, said she was found unfit to plead and the case had been adjourned for a trial of the issue, when a jury would determine if she did the acts alleged against her.
But that hearing was fixed for March 23 and the case became the first trial at Bradford Crown Court to be suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The court heard today that the woman was making good progress in the hospital and her treating psychiatrist had found her fit to plead.
Mr Wood said the Crown had now reflected on the charges and decided that she could not have formed the necessary intent to attempt to murder the children.
A new charge sheet had been drawn up containing four charges of child cruelty to mirror the original counts of trying to strangle and poison each child.
The mother pleaded guilty to the charges of wilful assault on her sons last year.
Her barrister, Abigail Langford, said her client understood her requirement to attend court and wanted to engage with the proceedings.
A second doctor’s report was needed to enable her to continue to be treated at the psychiatric hospital.
The case was listed again on July 16 but Judge Jonathan Rose said the woman must be told in advance if the report wasn’t ready by then to avoid further mental stress.
He said the case must be concluded by the end of this month.
Mr Wood agreed, saying: “The Crown agrees that expedition is terribly important in this case.”
He told the court the prosecution would not seek to obtain its own medical report.
Judge Rose enlarged the woman’s bail on condition that she resides at the hospital.
He told her: “I am not going to send you to prison. You are not a well lady.”
The woman is subject to a Section 36 order under The Mental Health Act that means she is remanded in hospital for treatment instead of into prison.
Jury trials have now returned to Bradford Crown Court but they are short cases with single defendants. Bigger trials have been postponed until at least September and new trials are being fixed into next year.