An Indian woman living in the UK, Sutha Sivanantham, has admitted of killing her five-year-old daughter because she was "terrified of dying from COVID-19, and thought the little girl could not live without her," Sivanantham stabbed her daughter Sayagi multiple times before severely injuring herself on June 30 last year, the Metro.co.ukreported.
Her husband said she had been "petrified" about contracting the virus and may have had taken this drastic step because of that. Judge Wendy Joseph described the case as a "terrible tragedy". In the months before the killing, Sivanantham was being treated by doctors for a number of physical ailments.
Killing Her Own Daughter
Sivanantham reportedly stabbed her daughter Sayagi in the bedroom of their south London flat 15 times before severely injuring herself. The concerned mother worried that the little girl could not live without her if she were to contract the virus and die.
According to reports, her husband Suganthan Sivanantham has blamed the pandemic and said that the lockdown restrictions may have "pushed her over the edge". Appearing at the Old Bailey on Thursday, Sivanantham denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and will be kept in hospital indefinitely.
However, Sivanantham is also said to be mentally unwell and was being treated for a number of ailments. She was produced in Old Bailey court this week wherein the court heard that the mother-of-two had "an emerging mental illness" at the time of committing the crime. However, her ailment was only diagnosed as severe depression with psychosis after she killed her daughter.
Joseph said the defendant's mental illness had not been "not fully appreciated by anyone around her, including her doctors". The court heard Sivanantham went on to develop a "morbid concern" that she was seriously ill and she became convinced she was going to die.
A Mother's Concern
Sivanantham, who had been living in the UK since 2006 after an arranged marriage, had reportedly been complaining of mystery ailments for almost a year before she took the life of her daughter. On the day of the tragedy, she begged her husband not to go to work and called friends to tell them she was unwell.
When neighbors reached her flat in Monarch Parade, Mitcham, around 4 pm, they found Sivanantham with stab wounds to her abdomen. However, before that she had already killed Sayagi. Shocked neighbors traced Sayagi to a bed, where she was lying unconscious, with several stab wounds in the neck, chest, and abdomen.
Sivanathan's husband, who is a Sainsbury's worker, was at work at that time. Suganthan was called at the supermarket and was informed that his wife had killed their daughter at their home. He sobbed loudly in the dock as his impact statement was read to the court.
It read: "I get very emotional having to relive what has happened to my daughter and my wife."
He said before the killing the family had lived a "happy fulfilling and blissful life." Since then he has had to give up work and "each day is a struggle." He also said that since then he has not spoken to his wife but accepts she was not responsible for her actions. "I know that if she was well she would not have been able to kill our daughter," he said.
Sutha Sivanantham, who appeared in the dock with two nurses by her side, was sent for treatment at a psychiatric hospital indefinitely.