Video taken night before children stabbed shown in Antrim murder trial

Mother accused of murder and attempted murder of two youngest children

A woman accused of stabbing her two youngest children wept in court on Thursday when video evidence was shown of the toddlers.

The children's father, giving evidence at the Antrim Crown Court murder trial for the second day, also wept at the seven second clip he recorded the night before his two boys were stabbed, one of them fatally and the other within millimetres of death.

Recorded in the kitchen of the family home at Magheramorne on March 1st 2020, the defendant is seen holding her 11 month old son by both hands, leading him around the central island in the kitchen as his big brother and he chase a skipping lamb, their laughter and giggles filling the room.

Less than 24 hours later, the boys would suffer multiple stab wounds.

Their mother is on trial accused of murdering her son who was two months short of his third birthday and the attempted murder of his 11-month-old brother on March 2nd 2020.

The jury of seven men and five women have already heard evidence the 41-year-old put multiple morphine pain relief patches on the children before stabbing them numerous times in the bedroom of the family home in Magheramorne near Larne, leaving "suicide notes" that she did not want them to "experience pain" and "I'm taking my kids with me because I can't leave them with their dad."

Both boys had sustained stab wounds to their necks and abdomens but the oldest victim died as a result of a neck wound which severed an artery and a vain while his little brother came within millimetres of the same fate and had to undergo emergency surgery.

It is the Crown case that when the woman stabbed them, she mother either intended to kill them or at least intended to cause her infant sons serious harm but the defence argue that at the time, she was suffering from an abnormality of mind which substantially impaired her thinking, decision making and perception of consequences.

She had also stabbed herself, put the same morphine patches on her body and there were empty packets of painkillers and tranquillisers found in the bloody stained bedroom.

While defence QC Kieran Mallon suggested the short clip played to the jury showed the defendant as a “fantastic mum,” the jury had earlier watched two other videos, one taken during an argument over a Chinese takeaway and the other, a 12 minute video, recorded the morning after.

Recorded in the early hours of June 20th 2019, the jury could see on the footage the boys’ father walking around the house holding the baby with the other little boy following him, crying and he can he heard telling the defendant: “Get your hands off me! You are f****** crazy. Sort yourself out. There are two babies in the house…f****** wise yourself up.”

The jury have heard how the defendant stabbed herself in the leg that evening and the witness was “screaming for the older kids to come and help me while she was holding a knife at the top of the stairs and I’m asking her to put the knife down.”

A 12 minute video recorded the following morning was played to the jury showing the blood stained bed, with the two little boys still asleep but lying close by is the knife she used to cut herself.

He conceded the video showed a “pretty unhealthy atmosphere” in the house and that although he is “quite disgusted at myself” for shouting and swearing, the video “showed the aftermath of a night that I can only describe as sheer hell.”

He agreed with the senior defence barrister he had told both a doctor who treated his wounded son as well as investigating police that at times “you had been living with almost two different people.”

In re-examination, he told prosecuting QC Charles MacCreanor he had concerns “for all of the children” because life in the house was a “horrible existence” with arguments and his then partner being angry, verbally abusive and aggressive.

After lunch, the jury watched a video of the defendant’s 13-year-old daughter being interviewed by police about how their family life was in the home.

The defendant herself did not watch it and Judge Patricia Smyth explained to the jury that was because “she prefers not to be here” while the Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) video is played.

During the hour long tape, the teenager described how she had witnessed her mother argue with her biological father before the couple divorced, recalling one occasion when she punched him in the face and dislocated his jaw while he was driving.

She told the interviewing detective she had also witnessed numerous, almost weekly arguments and yelling between her mother and the wounded toddlers’ father.

When her mother was pregnant, the jury heard there was an incident when “I saw my mum at the top of the stairs punching her stomach” and also that the teenager was aware that her mum repeatedly self-harmed.

“She would have always like, put like it in to other people, like it was never her fault for anything she done,” the teenager told the police.

The trial continues.