Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mother jailed for 'appalling' crime

A woman found guilty of murdering her sons by drugging and then suffocating them has been sentenced to 24 years in a psychiatric facility.

Donna Fitchett, 49, was found guilty by a jury in May of murdering her sons Thomas, 11, and Matthew, 9, at their Balwyn North home on September 6, 2005.

She told the boys she was taking them on a trip and they needed to take medicine so they would not be sick, before giving them sedatives stockpiled from her former job as a nurse.

Fitchett waited until they were asleep before suffocating and strangling them.

David Fitchett arrived home from work to find his sons' cold and bruised bodies in their beds.

Today he turned around to lock eyes with his ex-wife as she was ordered to stand up in the dock for the sentence.

Justice Geoffrey Nettle described the nature and gravity of Donna Fitchett's crimes as "appalling".

"The idea of a mother intentionally killing her children is particularly shocking," he said.

"Your sons' lives were given to you to nurture and cherish, and instead you intentionally killed them by means which were premeditated, cold-blooded and brutal."

Fitchett, who was admitted to hospital with self-inflicted wounds after the murders, had spoken of wanting to keep her sons from harm and stated in a letter to a psychologist that killing them was her "greatest act of love".

Justice Nettle said the jury had rejected an argument by Fitchett's lawyer that she was not guilty of murder due to mental impairment.

He accepted the diagnosis of a psychologist who said she was now suffering a major depressive illness.

Justice Nettle said Fitchett had "an unremitting desire to commit suicide and join your children whom, as you now understand, you failed and abandoned".

He said Fitchett would remain at high risk of suicide "for the foreseeable long-term future", and should receive appropriate treatment in a secure hospital.

Fitchett will serve a minimum of 18 years before being eligible for parole.


Latest Posts

Latest Comments