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Woman avoids jail for trying to kill kids

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/05/2016

An empty prison cell. © Getty Images An empty prison cell. A mentally ill woman who tried to kill her three young children along with herself before changing her mind has avoided a jail sentence.

The woman, whose name is suppressed, attempted to poison them with carbon monoxide in July last year before having second thoughts and calling an ambulance.

Her youngest, who was less than one-year-old, was unconscious, but all have since recovered.

The woman pleaded guilty to three charges of attempted murder in February.

Justice Paul Heath imposed a sentence of two years' intensive supervision for one of the gravest crimes due to her major depressive episodes and mental state.

"Your children will be able to fulfil their development knowing that their mother was very ill when these events occurred," he said in the High Court at New Plymouth last week.

"It is clear from what I have read that what you need is help, not punishment."

Justice Heath said the woman held a genuine belief that death was the only way to free her children from a future where she and her husband separated following their marital difficulties.

He said in his sentencing notes she had made great progress in her rehabilitation, but as part of her sentence she will be required to undergo any psychiatric assessments, treatment or counselling programmes directed by her probation officer.

* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline's 24-hour telephone counselling service on 0800 543 354.

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