A London woman deliberately drugged and poisoned her son in an attempt to avoid being forced to travel to Syria by her jihadi husband, and was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty on Friday.
The woman, whose name was withheld from reports for legal reasons, gave her young boy antipsychotic drugs and a potentially life-threatening noxious substance so that he would be admitted to a local hospital, believing that he would be safer there than in Syria.
She administered the drugs for a six-week period between August and October of 2015, after her son spent time in the hospital for unrelated reasons, because she thought it would be a believable reason to need to stay in the UK, her lawyer said.
The attorney defending the 27-year-old woman said that she entered a “total panic” when her former husband tried to force her to to travel to Islamic State-controlled areas in Syria.
“That is how the idea came to life,” said defense attorney Kate O’Raghallaigh. “She began to realize that if she made him ill, the hospital would have to take him in. As long as he was admitted, so she thought, he was safe, perverse as that thought process was.”
But the judge at the Kingston Crown Court in Surrey disagreed that this was an appropriate course of action, though he acknowledged that she was trying to avoid what she perceived as even greater harm awaiting in Syria.
“What you were inflicting on that young child threatened the very life you claim you were seeking to protect, and that must have become apparent to you,” said Judge Peter Lodder.
While her son was in the hospital, the woman contaminated the intravenous tubes that were meant for antibiotics with an unknown substance that could have been feces or sink cleaner, according to The Guardian. It’s unclear exactly what she put in the IVs, but the boy’s blood tests found bacteria that is also found in the bowel and in hospital sinks and drains.
The boy has recovered fully after being admitted to the hospital with severe neurological symptoms and bacterial infections. At one point during his hospitalization, he fell into a coma.
Hospital staff noticed that the boy’s condition would improve throughout the day and then worsen at night after his mother visited, and he recovered significantly as soon as they began monitoring him around the clock.
“You knew that your son would have to undergo painful invasive procedures and on 29 October, what you gave your son was a potentially lethal dose,” said the judge.
The woman pleaded guilty to one count of endangering life and three counts of administering a noxious substance, and was sentenced to four years and six months in prison.
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