Felicia Boots, 35 of Wandsworth, South-West London, appeared at the Old Bailey last week, charged with murdering her two children. The children, aged just ten weeks and 14 months, were found by their father, Ms Boots’s husband, lying unconscious in a wardrobe earlier this year.
Ms Boots, who has been transferred from Holloway prison to a psychiatric hospital, pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter by virtue of diminished responsibility. This plea has been accepted by the prosecution, who will not be pursuing the murder charge. It is believed that she was suffering from severe post-natal depression at the time of her children’s death. Following her plea, a letter from Ms Boots was read to the court:
“9 May 2012 is a day I will be eternally sorry for. It should never have happened. It troubles me more than anyone will ever know. Part of me will always be missing. I am a good person. I am a good mum and I never meant any of this to happen. I am truly sorry.”
The judge, Fulford J, concluded that a prison sentence would be inappropriate, but that Ms Boots would be detained in a psychiatric hospital. He is reported to have said:
“Although the results of Mrs Boots’s actions were profoundly tragic given the loss of two young lives, what occurred was not criminal activity in the sense that expression is normally understood…I unreservedly accept that what she did to the two children, that she and her husband loved and nurtured, were the results of physical and biological factors beyond her control.”
The case has been widely reported: