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Sen tried to 'save daughter' with killing

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/10/2016

Maggie Watson © RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson Maggie Watson When Evelyn Sen poisoned her four-year-old daughter, she feared the child was being possessed by evil spirits and wanted to save her soul, a psychiatrist has told a court.

Sen, 44, has been found insane and won't stand trial, having been charged with the murder of Maggie Renee Watson in her Onehunga home in August last year.

At an insanity hearing at the High Court at Auckland on Thursday, psychiatrist Mhairi Duff described how Sen had long suffered disillusions that her daughter was being tormented by evil spirits and was at risk of possession.

She said Sen believed she had been turned away elsewhere and "increasingly came to realise there was nothing else to be done" to save Maggie.

Sitting at a kitchen table on August 6, Sen concluded there was no other option but to poison Maggie with pills she had and then herself, Dr Duff said.

"Now is the time, this is where I must act," she quoted Sen telling psychiatrists.

Dr Duff said Sen was religious, making "bizarre" notes about scripture, and believed killing her daughter would allow the child to go to heaven as an "innocent".

Justice Matthew Downs accepted the evidence from Dr Duff and another psychiatrist that Sen did not understand she was doing wrong at the time of the killing and was insane.

He has ordered she be held as a special patient, which means she will be kept in mental health care until she is deemed safe.

Justice Downs told the court Sen had given the girl 134 times the safe of dose of anti-depressant Mirtazapine.

The dose Sen then took wasn't enough to kill herself, he said.

Sen had been suffering delusions of being tracked as part of a conspiracy and that there was a demon or other evil presence in her house in the lead-up to the killing, Justice Downs said.

She had also accused her father of sending her to New Zealand from Malaysia eight years ago to be "sacrificed".

Asked why Sen had told ambulance officers she had blacked out, Dr Duff said a combination of the drugs she had taken and the distress of the situation meant she would not have been conscious during parts of the event.

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