US judge rules on killer mother; Former Cumbrian woman learns fate.Byline: By Paul James Paul James (born November 11, 1963 in Cardiff, Wales) is a football head coach and former Canadian national soccer team player .
Developed into a top class midfield player while with the Toronto Blizzard and became a regular with the national team. Chief Reporter
A NORTH mother who killed her two young sons in 2004, believing they were possessed by a demon, was yesterday cleared of murder.
Meghan Lippiatt, 32, who followed her children from the North-East to the US after they were put in the care of her parents, smiled when Judge James P Cullen announced his verdict at Lancaster County Court in Pennsylvania.
Her mother, sitting behind her, burst into tears. The verdict means Lippiatt will avoid prison and the potential for the death penalty and will instead be treated at a psychiatric hospital psychiatric hospital
A hospital for the care and treatment of patients affected with acute or chronic mental illness. Also called mental hospital. to be determined later.
Lippiatt admitted killing Silas, two, and his brother Miles, four months, in 2004, weeks after they were taken from her after a five-hour standoff with police at Newcastle Airport.
But while prosecutors were pushing for a first-degree murder conviction, her defence team argued she was not guilty because she was insane.
The trial heard that when the family were living in England last February, two months before the boys died, Lippiatt had called 999 to say voices were telling her to harm her children. Three days later, she tried to fly with them to the US from Newcastle, but had an emotional breakdown and locked herself and the children in a car until police intervened and she was taken to hospital.
The boys were put in the care of her parents, John and Susan Kelleher, who took the boys to the US. Lippiatt had previously lived there with husband Daniel, whose father Michael Lippiatt was a vicar at Holy Trinity Church Holy Trinity Church, or variations on the name, may refer to: Churches
Lippiatt met him in Carlisle in 2000 and they lived for a time at Brampton in Cumbria. After returning to America, she killed the boys on the first day she was left alone with them.
Doctors told the court she had become convinced "her children were possessed by a demon" and "that she was possessed and the only way to save all of them was to end their lives".
Yesterday her attorney James Gratton said: "This is the best verdict you could have under these tragic circumstances."
Her father described the verdict as "a victory for awareness of mental health issues, which is the only good outcome from this tragedy".
Assistant district attorney Kelly Sekula said Lippiatt would be returned to Lancaster County Prison The Lancaster County Prison is a county prison located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the United States.
The prison was originally built in 1737. It was later rebuilt on a new site in 1849. pending a hearing to determine her treatment. Lippiatt killed her children on April 18, 2004, at her parents' home in Mount Joy, where she and her sons were living. She admitted suffocating baby Miles with a nappy, then placing Silas in a tub of warm water and drowning him.
Lippiatt's non-jury trial lasted three days and ended on Friday afternoon. The prosecution was seeking a verdict of first-degree murder, which could have led to the death penalty. Her defence attorneys were seeking the verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity not guilty by reason of insanity n. plea in court of a person charged with a crime who admits the criminal act, but whose attorney claims he/she was so mentally disturbed at the time of the crime that he/she lacked the capacity to have intended to commit a crime. .
The defence argued successfully she had schizoaffective disorder Schizoaffective Disorder Definition
Schizoaffective disorder is a mental illness that shares the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia and the mood disturbances of depression or bipolar disorder. and did not know the difference between right and wrong when she killed the children. Her fate rested on the distinction between knowing what she had done was bad and knowing it was wrong in law.
Judge Cullen concluded she was mentally ill to the point of not knowing it was wrong.
FORMER HOME: The house in Brampton where the family lived.; DISORDER: Meghan Lippiatt admitted killing her two sons after hearing voices.