23 Jan 2014

A Child's Murder

I was deeply saddened by the news of poor little Mikaeel, a three year old boy, not much older than my own little son, who went missing from his home in Scotland a few days ago. His body was later discovered in woodlands a few miles away. His mother has been arrested and charged over his death. Her guilt remains unproven at the time of writing this blogpost.

I am not going to speculate on whether or not she is guilty. That remains for the jury to decide and for the judge to rule over. Irrespective of the outcome of this case, the fact remains that there are far too many cases where a parent has been found guilty of murdering their own child. It is disconcerting that these episodes are not infrequent.

The infamous cases of Baby P, Daniel Pelka and Elise and Harry are but a few from recent memory. The child homicides statistics by the NSPCC state that 'Every ten days in England and Wales one child is killed at the hands of their parent.' 

It goes on to quote some deeply disturbing statistics from the Home Office research into homicide statistics in England and Wales:
  • "Killings of children by a natural parent are committed in roughly equal proportions by mothers (47%) and fathers (53%)".
  • "The proportion of child homicides in which the perpetrator is a parent is exceptionally high among infants". For example between 1995 and 1999 in England and Wales, 80% of homicide victims under one year old were killed by a parent.
What is it that possesses a parent to murder their own child in cold blood? A child they have chosen to bring into this world, to give birth to, an innocent life of their own making.

Children, especially the younger ones, seem to have no sense of self-preservation. They carry on being children with absolutely no regard for their own safety or well-being. They do push limits and test boundaries. It is their way of testing their strengths and asserting their independence. Parents can perceive this, albeit erroneously, as 'pushing their buttons', 'winding them up', 'fingering them'. In reality, they are just being, well, children.

Any parent will testify to a time when they have felt helpless, annoyed, angered, outraged, driven nearly insane by their child's behaviour. And to times when they have experienced immense joy, happiness, satisfaction, pride and unconditional love. The one cannot, will not exist without the other. That is the essence of parenthood.

It is sad then, that some parents seem to reach that tragic point where, for reasons beyond comprehension, feel the only way out is by ending the life of the child they bore into this world. Perhaps they did not get the help to see them through the trying times. But perhaps they just refused to seek that help and to take ownership for their deeds and actions.

Your child puts trust in you, the parent, from the moment it is born. The trust that you will always be there to love, to care, to protect. There can never be any justification for this ultimate betrayal of trust, however compelling the circumstances may seem. The murder of a child. By its parents.

mumturnedmom
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51 comments:

  1. It is totally beyond comprehension, and like you, whenever I see these stories, I cannot conceive of what must have happened to drive a parent to do this. We are privileged to have these children, these lives to nurture, and it appals and saddens that some abuse it in the most profound and final way #ThePrompt

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    1. Very true. It is an absolute honour to be a parent, a privilege not everyone is fortunate enough to experience. To abuse that privilege and trust is absolutely apalling.

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  2. Such a sad story. :-( so hard to understand. Even in my darkest pnd moments i could never murder my children. Rip little man.
    Found through pocolo

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  3. So so sad. Very difficult to understand why she did it. Even in my darkest pnd moments i could never murder my children. So sad. Rip little man.
    Found through pocolo

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    1. It is that ability to think rationally in the face of anger and upheaval is what should set us apart as adults. Sadly, that is not always the case.

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  4. I totally agree. It is so upsetting when we read and hear about these children that have been hurt by the hands of their parents and we instantly hate the parent. On many occasions I have felt my anger rising as a consequence of the children's 'pushing buttons' but I know it's me, not them. I have to control myself because, like you said, they're just children and I would hate myself forever if I ever hurt them.

    Brilliant post. #PoCoLo
    Morgan x

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  5. Hard to comment on .
    It's in the hands of the courts now.
    it's mind numbing.

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    1. Unfortunately, it is not an isolated incidence. These cases seem to happen far too often.

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  6. So tragic isn't it :( I'd like to think if if I ever found myself in the position these people do I would do what is best for my children, and let someone else look after them while I got the help I need to get better and be able to care for them properly myself! Can't even imagine it though, no matter how stressful life gets :( x

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    1. Absolutely! But it is not always about mental health issues. There have been cases of revenge, neglect and abuse.

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  7. It is so sad and such a shame it seems to happen so often. Being a parent is bloody hard work and if you don't have support or don't know how to handle it it is tragic some people see this as the only option. Lets hope things can change and these tragic stories will become something of the past.

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    1. We owe it to our children to keep them safe. All of them.

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  8. It's so hard to comprehend and so terribly sad that some children are not safe with the people they should be :(

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    1. That is what is so shocking. If you cannot trust your own parents, then who can you trust?

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  9. Such a shocking piece of news that is beyond comprehension. Most parents will never understand what possesses anyone to go to these lengths. I hope (in a way) that in Mikaeel's case, it was an accident which fear drove the mother to cover up. Not that this makes up for a life lost but is somehow easier to understand.

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    1. I suppose it does. And for his sake we can only hope and pray it was so.

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  10. Its not not understandable.. I have a 16 month old and in honesty she HAS driven me up the wall, there have been times I have been reduced to tears due to tiredness and felt like running away...... but I just cant understand how someone could do this.

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    1. Precisely my point. All children drive their parents insane, most of the time. That is what they do. But dealing with that sensibly is what should set us adults apart from our children.

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  11. Whilst I don't disagree at ALL about the abhorrent nature of the death of a child, the NSPCC statistics are not to be relied upon. There is interesting info here http://themarmaladesandwich.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/why-dont-i-support-red-nose-day-nspcc.html and and here http://www.theopinionsite.org/is-the-nspcc-being-dishonest-in-order-to-get-our-money/ and many people have woken up to the fact that it's a business for them, they make their top execs a LOT of money and it's jun their interests to promote scare stories. They are pro Big Government, Pro removing rights from families, and anti HE. The right to educate your children as you see fit is a fundamental parental right, it;'s compulsory that children ARE educated, but how is up to you. Given that governments of all political colours are short termist, self focussed and election obsessed I simply resent the suggestion that they know my child better than I. Parents have fewer rights in the family courts than a suspected murderer in the Criminal ones. I won't support the NSPCC and I don't support Red Nose Day for this reason either.
    That said, like you I cannot imagine how this horrific story played out - I like to think it was an appalling accident they sought to cover up, but I suspect not. So very, very sad.

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    1. I am aware of the issues surrounding the NSPCC. But the issue here is not the NSPCC but the horrific deaths of children at the hands of their parents, with or without the statistics. And that is distressing.

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  12. A terrible story and just heart-renchingly sad. It's stories like this that make me turn the news over as I just find them too upsetting - now I have children I relate everything to them and find them almost impossibly sad and hard to bear :(

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    1. So true. I think I have become even more emotionally labile after becoming a parent.

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  13. ...and on the news today yet another parent sentenced for murdering their 11 month old baby... I just don't understand it and I never will. :(

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    1. Makes you wonder whether there is something fundamentally wrong somewhere.

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  14. It is so hard for me to comment. I deliberately don't follow any of this stories to closely. I can't understand how this thing can happen and yet it happens all too often. So sad.

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    1. I agree with you Orli. I try not to catch the daily news. It is just too distressing.

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  15. Those statistics are shocking. It's so hard to comprehend when the 'normal' reaction to parenthood it to protect your child with you own life if needs be. So very sad #ThePrompt

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    1. I couldn't agree more. The normal response of any parent would be to protect their child at all costs.

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  16. This was one of the events that influenced my choice of Prompt this week. I cannot even begin to understand what compels a parent to murder their child, but I suppose I shouldn't be able to understand it. It is so very sad. Thank you so much for linking to #ThePrompt xx

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    1. Thanks Sara. It truly was a sad and shocking piece of news.

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  17. I honestly don't even know what to start thinking when things like this happen - for a parent to turn on a child is just scary and I thank goodness for my wonderful parents everyday x

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    1. That is what most parents will do. Keep their kids safe. x

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  18. Awful, awful, awful, this has made me sad, horrified and to be honest a bit numb,. As a Mum of twins, the fact he has a twin really shook me, the loss for all the family must be terrible. My heart goes out to them.

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  19. Terribly sad and I can only imagine that in many cases it's breakdowns in mental health which leads to such crimes which is why it's so hard for us to understand and comprehend x

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    1. Whatever the cause and whoever the perpetrator, taking a human life can never be acceptable.

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  20. I know it's bad to live in a bubble but basically this is why we don't have TV! I rarely see what's going on in the news and Tom tries to not tell me about sad stories like this (he reads the news daily) because when he does I just cry! :( x

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    1. I am like that too. I try not to catch the daily news. Call it escapism if you like, but I don't think I could stand to cry every day.

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  21. It's very sad news. She may have a mental illness, I have worked with ladies who have hurt their children because of mental illness. It's hard not to speculate isn't it.

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  22. a thought provoking post - I guess you never know until you reach the point of no return. I would hazard a guess that many deaths are not premeditated - maybe something they did in the spur of the moment?

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  23. it is so shocking. cant believe how parents can do it...

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  24. Such a sad story and an awfully shocking statistic!

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  25. There many reasons why a child is ends up dead at the hands of a parent.She may not have not had the support of a partner or family, which led to her being isolated.I know these cases are shocking and quite unfathomable to most, mental health is still a stigmatised subject and I hope for whatever reason that this happened, you have to remember she has still lost a child and it's her who has to bare that guilt for the rest of her life.

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  26. I was going to write a post about this subject for the "I was saddened by" Prompt but I didn't want to dwell too much on these sad stories. It really is beyond comprehension and my heart goes out to those poor little children. :-( #PoCoLo

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  27. This is such a desperately sad case. I agree with Aly that some parents need more help and support. No parent in their right mind would do something like this to their child; it goes to show that they must be severely mentally ill. That needs to be understood more widely, so that something can be done.

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  28. It is such a sad story and it does make you wonder whether she had or sought any support. I cannot begin to imagine what was going through her mind and how she would be feeling now.

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  29. I am so with you on this. I just don't get it...how can any parent hurt their child when they have been blessed with the gift of having, and protecting one? I'll never understand. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

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  30. A very heart-wrenching post. It's beyond belief that such things happen in this world we all live in. There must be tragically sad back-stories going back generations to most of these horrific acts. #ThePrompt

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  31. I agree with you absolutely, I can never imagine, even in my darkest moments (of which there have been a few) hurting one of my beautiful children. It defies comprehension. #theprompt

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