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Samantha Ford: Mum who drowned IVF twins 'to get back at husband' jailed for 10 years

Mirror logo Mirror 16/08/2019 Chris Kitching

a person wearing a hat and glasses: Samantha and Steven Ford with their twins Chloe and Jake © Facebook Samantha and Steven Ford with their twins Chloe and Jake A mum who drowned her "miracle" IVF twins on Boxing Day after her husband left her has been jailed for 10 years.

Samantha Ford killed her 23-month-old toddlers Jake and Chloe in the bath and then tried to die by suicide when she crashed her car into the back of a lorry at 100mph, later telling police: "I've killed my babies. Please let me die."

Her lawyer claims she was suffering from "a catastrophic level" of acute depression "leading her to believe that she and the children needed to die".

But prosecution psychiatrists believe she may have been exaggerating her illness, claiming she killed her twins in a fit of "narcissistic rage", had a "homicide/suicide fantasy" and carried it out in an act of "retaliation and punishment" against her estranged husband Steven.

a person standing next to a lake: Ford drowned her twin children before crashing her car into a lorry © Facebook Ford drowned her twin children before crashing her car into a lorry Ford, 38, admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility but denied murdering the twins at her home in Westwood, Kent.

The twins’ father Steven Ford attended the hearing. After the killings, he tweeted: “Daddy’s twins xxx my beautiful babies. I love you.”

In a later tweet he said: “I want the world to see my beautiful babies. Jake and Chloe forever xxx.”

She was experiencing a "homicide/suicide fantasy" which was "in play as a way of retaliation and of punishment of Mr Ford for leaving her - a sense of 'this is what you made me do'", a prosecution psychiatrist told the court.

After the deaths, Ford claimed she had heard voices telling her to kill her children - claims that she hadn't made previously, the court heard.

While she was being held in a mental health hospital she was "fixated" on Mr Ford and wanted to know he was "suffering", a court heard on Friday.

Defence expert witness Gillian Mezey, a Professor of Psychiatrist, told the court: "My understanding is that the impulse, the thought about killing her children was something that only occurred very shortly before the children's death and that's certainly what she said to me.

"She killed the children knowing that she was about to kill herself and having determined that was what she was about to do.

"I concluded that she had developed a depressive illness, I felt that it was severe in nature."

The Fords had spent their first 10 years of marriage living in Qatar, but when they moved back to the UK "emotionally controlling" and "materialistic" Samantha was angry at leaving their lavish lifestyle behind and wanted to return to the Middle East, the Old Bailey heard.

a little boy sitting next to a baby: The twins were just 23-months-old when they died © Steven Ford / SWNS The twins were just 23-months-old when they died Their marriage deteriorated and they split in November last year, with Samantha and the twins moving into a rented house near Margate.

The court heard Ford had sent a message on Christmas Day, telling someone: "I just need to end. I just need something to strike him to make him know what he's doing."

In the weeks leading up to the deaths, Ford's health had rapidly "deteriorated" and she had Googled methods of suicide and murder.

Prosecutor Tom Kark QC told a July hearing that Samantha had sent multiple text messages to Mr Ford, 36, including one which read: "You have ripped my world apart".

He added: "She was very upset that the relationship had broken down and didn't like the idea of becoming a single mother."

After drowning the twins, Ford got into her Ford Galaxy and crashed into the back of a lorry at 100mph without a seatbelt on.

She survived the smash on the London-bound carriageway of the A299 Thanet Way, near Whitstable, just before 3am on December 27.   

When rescuers arrived at the scene, she told police: "I've killed my babies. Please let me die.

"I put them in the bath. We were meant to be together."

She added: I would never hurt them, they are my miracle babies."

a man looking at the camera: Steven Ford attends Friday's sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey © Provided by Reach Publishing Services Limited Steven Ford attends Friday's sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey

She also said: "This is all a dream. I should have gone to the hospital sooner. He's messing with my head."

Police found the toddlers just after 3.30am. Pathologists believe they were killed day before.

Ford avoided a murder trial after the prosecution accepted her plea to the lesser charge at a previous hearing in June following a psychiatric report.

The Old Bailey heard the Fords married in 2008 and moved to Qatar where they enjoyed an "affluent" and "lavish" lifestyle.

Samantha became pregnant with twins after IVF treatment, giving birth to Jake and Chloe in 2017.

A pathologist says the twins were killed on Boxing Day © @Steven4rd/Twitter A pathologist says the twins were killed on Boxing Day

In early 2018 the family moved back to the UK to a house in Charing, near Ashford, the court heard.

But Ford was not happy to be back and wanted to return to the Middle East, a judge was told.

One message she sent to Mr Ford said: "Why do you choose a job in London over living in an amazing country with our children. Now our children are going to live a miserable life. Now we are destined to live a miserable life in a sh*thole."

The sentencing hearing began in July and continued on Friday with further psychiatric evidence at the Old Bailey.

At the hearing in July, prosecutor Ed Brown QC read a victim impact statement from Mr Ford, who said: "I believe what happened here is an extreme version of her character. Like a tantrum. She knew it was the ultimate punishment.

"The total shock and pain is indescribable.

a man holding a baby: Mr Ford says his twins would have become © Steven Ford Mr Ford says his twins would have become

"In that moment my life had changed in a heartbeat.

"My two beautiful babies were healthy, bright and loving children who had everything to life for.

"Being twins they were a real double act. They were quite individual in their personalities, but were also aware of each other's presence.

"I have no doubt they would have been wonderful people.

"Jake and Chloe were wanted babies. Samantha and I went through four attempts of IVF and years of heartache."

He added: "I have night terror these have become more frequent in recent weeks and happened in the middle of the night.

a group of people sitting in a swing: The Fords had moved back to the UK after living in Qatar © Facebook The Fords had moved back to the UK after living in Qatar

"I wake myself up screaming or throwing items within my reach in my bedroom.

"I find these incidents particularly disturbing. Sometimes in the morning when I get out of bed I get out on autopilot and go to the twins room to get them up.

"Over the last few months I have been troubled with suicidal thoughts, thinking about hanging myself; although I think about the impact it would have on my parents and my family. Sometimes I feel like I can't live like this.

"I find myself speculating what their last minutes were like. I suspect they were terrified, confused and suffering.

"I feel like I should have been able to protect them even though I know I couldn't have."

Mr Ford told the court he felt guilty for the twins' deaths and had no idea that anything was wrong when he dropped them off at his estranged wife's home on Boxing Day.

a close up of a baby: Mr Ford had dropped off Jake (pictured) and Chloe the day they were killed © Steven Ford / SWNS Mr Ford had dropped off Jake (pictured) and Chloe the day they were killed

Mr Brown told the hearing in July: "We suggest there is evidence (Samantha) was a materialistic person in the sense she resented losing her good lifestyle in Qatar, that she had been searching the internet and in particular about killing herself and her children."

Dr Muzzaffar Hussain, a consultant forensic psychiatrist who has treated Ford, said her actions could be attributed to a "narcissistic rage" at her perceived humiliation at the hands of her husband.

Dr Hussain said Ford was obsessed with having the "perfect life", had shown a "sense of entitlement" and attributed "bad things that happen" to others.

She was experiencing a "homicide/suicide fantasy" which was "in play as a way of retaliation and of punishment of Mr Ford for leaving her - a sense of 'this is what you made me do'", he said.

Addressing Ford's claims she heard a male voice telling her to kill the children, Dr Hussain said: "In my opinion the self-report of voices is embellishment."

He added: "Unfortunately I think it's a wish to appear more severely ill than she is.

a person holding a baby: Mr Ford fears his daughter Chloe (pictured) and son Jake suffered © Steven Ford / SWNS Mr Ford fears his daughter Chloe (pictured) and son Jake suffered

"I don't deny that she is ill but I think there's a wish to come across more severely unwell than she is and there's a part of that that's coloured the narrative a little bit."

He also said: "What we find is what she's most regretful about is losing that perfect life, a perfect life with Steve in Qatar. A perfect life with her miracle children. The perfect house.

"It's the loss of that that she grieves. In my my view that's a balanced view of where she is in the grieving process.

"I don't think she's grieving for the children yet, I think she's grieving for the loss of her life.

"In my view she had depressive symptoms at the time.

"However, at the same time she was very wounded narcissistically by Mr Ford's departure from the family home and how her perfect life, which she felt was perfect in every way, was taken away from her."

At Friday's hearing, consultant psychiatrist Philip Joseph said Ford's poor mental health was a "significant contributory factor" in the killings but it wasn't the cause.

a couple of people posing for the camera: The father of twins allegedly killed by their mother has posted a touching image of himself holding his children against his chest before they were murdered.  Steve Ford, shared the photograph alongside a heartbreaking tribute to Jake and Chloe, who were 23-months old when they died, which read: 'I want the world to see my beautiful babies.'  Both were found dying at home in Margate, Kent on Thursday morning soon after their mother - Samantha Ford - crashed her car into a lorry © Provided by Reach Publishing Services Limited The father of twins allegedly killed by their mother has posted a touching image of himself holding his children against his chest before they were murdered. Steve Ford, shared the photograph alongside a heartbreaking tribute to Jake and Chloe, who were 23-months old when they died, which read: 'I want the world to see my beautiful babies.' Both were found dying at home in Margate, Kent on Thursday morning soon after their mother - Samantha Ford - crashed her car into a lorry

He said: "Taking everything into account I've come to the conclusion that the illness was moderate severity. The abnormality of mental functioning is a depressive illness of at least moderate severity.

"She was quite fixated about Steven Ford while in hospital, wanting to know he was suffering as well.

"I think more important and influencing my opinion is his (Steven Ford) impact statement itself.

"I think that has to be taken into account, his perception of why she did this is important.

"Unless the courts decide he was being vindictive in that statement - an impression I did not get."

At the July hearing, Brenda Campbell QC, defending Ford, said her client had been suffering from depression as a result of the breakdown of her marriage but was a "devoted mother" to the twins.

She said: "Mrs Ford has been entirely devastated by her own actions and is cognisant she has devastated many others in the process.

"What happened to Jake and Chloe happened in the middle of a marital breakdown which was difficult.

"Samantha Ford was a devoted mother to Chloe and to Jake Ford.

"The children were loved and cared for by her and she very much put their interests of their wellbeing above anything else, above herself and probably above her marital relationship.

"The children were very much wanted babies and when they came along Mrs Ford sought nothing but to nurture and protect them every single day. She was preoccupied that her children had the best possible childhood.

"She suffered a catastrophic level of depression leading her to believe that she and the children needed to die."

Ms Campbell said there had been 76 communications between Ford and mental health services in the weeks before the killings.

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