- Jeff Boots still supports wife Felicia after she smothered their two babies
- He discovered tiny bodies in walk-in wardrobe and screamed: 'Oh my God'
- Mother insists she is 'good person and mum' in heartbreaking court letter
- She pleads guilty to manslaughter and goes to mental hospital NOT prison
By Anna Edwards
A woman suffering postnatal depression has admitted killing her two babies who were then discovered dead by their father at the family's home.
Felicia Boots, 35, pleaded guilty today to the manslaughter of 10-week-old Mason and his 14-month-old sister Lily on May 9, who were found lying side by side on the floor of a walk-in wardrobe. They were apparently smothered.
Her husband Jeff discovered the tiny bodies at the couple's 1.2?million semi-detached home in an affluent part of Wandsworth, south west London.
Neighbours heard investment banker Mr Boots, 34, cry, 'Oh my God, oh my God' as he desperately tried to save his two babies.
Felicia Boots, 34 who smothered her ten week old son Mason, and 14 month old daughter Lily Skye, was suffering from postnatal depression when she smothered them and laid them side by side in a wardrobe
Jeff Boots, who discovered his children's bodies, is supporting his wife who had become worried that her antidepressants medication was harming her son
Her plea on the grounds of diminished responsibility was accepted by the prosecution at the Old Bailey, and murder charges were dropped.
Jewellery designer Boots, who wore a black suit and white blouse, sent a note to the court which was read by her counsel Kate Bex.
It said: 'May 9, 2012, is a day I will be eternally sorry for. It should never have happened.
'It troubles me more than anyone will ever know. Part of me will always be missing. I am a good person. I am a good mum and I never meant any of this to happen. I am truly sorry.'
Details of the babies' injuries were not detailed, other than to say they had been asphyxiated.
The court was told that Boots suffered postnatal depression following the births of both children, but appeared to be getting better.
She was prescribed antidepressants but was worried about the effect the medication would have on her child both during pregnancy and later when breastfeeding.
'I AM TRULY SORRY': FELICIA BOOTS HEARTBREAKING LETTER
Felicia Boots counsel read a letter to the court from the mother, who said that she would never forget the events of May 9 - the day she killed her children.
It read: 'May 9, 2012, is a day I will be eternally sorry for.
'It should never have happened.
'It troubles me more than anyone will ever know.
'Part of me will always be missing.
'I am a good person.
'I am a good mum and I never meant any of this to happen.
'I am truly sorry.'
She was told the medication was harmless but computer records show she was making a series of Google searches about her concerns in the weeks before the killings.
After Mason was born on February 28 this year friends and family began to become concerned that she was suffering from postnatal depression.
'She told someone the medication might affect the unborn child. She said she stopped taking the medicine without telling anyone,' said Mr Brown.
Mrs Boots also confided in her husband in early April that she was feeling unwell.
On April 12 she was prescribed antidepressants for the next 28 days, which would have lasted until May 11.
Examination of the pack revealed the pills for the days leading up to May 9 had been removed but Mr Brown said 'the findings might be consistent with Mrs Boots deciding to hide the fact she had not taken medication.'
Her parents-in-law visited the house in the days before the killing and noticed that she was finding it increasingly difficult to carry out basic tasks.
Edward Brown QC, prosecuting, said Mr Boots was supporting his wife.
He said: 'This plainly is a tragic case. There were signs Mrs Boots had made an attempt on her own life. She had marks to her neck.'
The couple married in 2007 and came to the UK from Canada. 'They were a happy family and they were comfortably well-off,' he said.
They had recently moved house and some of their possessions were still in packing cases.
Mr Boots went to work on May 9 as normal. He received a photo-text of Lily from his wife.
But when he arrived home the house was in darkness and he found his wife on the stairs, hugging herself and curled up.
Mr Brown said: 'Mr Boots ran past her and found their two children lying lifeless on the floor of a walk-in cupboard off the main bedroom.
'He very soon returned, very distressed, to his wife. On questioning, she told him she had killed the children at 2pm. She also said she had tried to kill herself.'
Felicia Boots is reported to have been found curled up in a ball as the body of her baby boy lay in a wardrobe
A picture of a young child taken from Felicia Boots' Facebook page believed to be her young daughter who died in the family home in Wandsworth
Police were called and his wife was arrested at the scene. It was believed she had attempted to slash her wrists but did not need hospital treatment.
Police found a handwritten note left near the bodies of the children, in which Mrs Boots questioned how she could have done it.
'She stated she was scared and so sorry and wanted to take her own life. She said she had started to fall apart a few weeks before,' said Mr Brown.
Reports from three psychiatrists all concluded she was suffering from a depressive illness which diminished her responsibility.
'She knew what she had done but did not understand why she had done it,' said one doctor.
A the time a neighbour said she heard Mr Boots's reaction when he came home on the evening.
She said: 'I could hear a man screaming: "Oh my God, oh my God". He then shouted: "I loved my son and I loved my daughter!"
'His voice was wailing: "My lovely son, my beautiful daughter. They've gone". Then he said: "Help me, help me, help me".
'I thought his wife should come and help him, but I heard nothing from his wife.
'Then he shouted: "I love my family. I love my children".
Mr Justice Fulford said: 'I unreservedly accept that what she did to the two children, that she and her husband loved and nurtured, were the results of physical and biological factors beyond her control'
'It was like a mantra which went on for a while. It was shocking when the police arrived and we realised how serious it was.'
Mrs Boots, a trained hairdresser, was unable to appear at two previous hearings.
The mother had been detained at a psychiatric unit and the prosecution's decision followed consideration of doctors' reports.
She began crying as she was asked to stand to enter pleas on the two murder charges.
Her voice shook as she replied in a Canadian-accent: 'Not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter because of diminished responsibility.'
Boots looked down and read from a piece of paper as she was asked to enter a plea to the second murder charge.
Giving the same answer, she wiped away tears with a handkerchief and sat down.
Mr Brown said the Crown had closely examined the medical evidence and spoken to Boots' husband, who was in court today.
He added: 'The authors of the reports are clear and agreed in their conclusions as to Boots' condition as at May 9 and the reasons for her actions on that day.
'As a result the Crown has taken the firm view that it is not in the public interest to pursue the counts of murder but to accept the pleas as entered.'
Boots was ordered to be treated in a mental hospital under section 37 of the Mental Health Act.
Jeff Boots and his wife Felicia Boots were a 'contented couple'. Mrs Boots had begun to suffer from depression and left a note saying she could not explain why she had killed her children
'On the morning of this tragedy she became fixated and deluded that her children were going to be taken away,' the judge said.
'She decided I am sure to end her own life, She killed her children and she attempted suicide.
The judge said a prison sentence and punishment would serve no purpose in the 'exceptional circumstances' of the case.
Boots' psychiatrist Dr Janet Parrott was earlier asked by the judge what would happen if Boots was to have more children.
'In the event of that occurring I would be confident that the psychiatric care would be of the highest standard,' she said.
The judge, Mr Justice Fulford, said: 'A prison sentence would be wholly inappropriate in this case.'
He added: 'This is an almost indescribably sad case.
'Although the results of Mrs Boots' actions were profoundly tragic given the loss of two young lives, what occurred was not criminal activity in the sense that expression is normally understood.
'I unreservedly accept that what she did to the two children, that she and her husband loved and nurtured, were the results of physical and biological factors beyond her control.'
There was no doubt of the strength of the relationship between the couple. 'This has always been a happy family,' he said.
'This is someone who delighted in being a mother and she was good at it.'
He said Boots may have hidden the extent of her mental anguish from her husband and family.
The judge did not impose any restriction on the time Boots would be detained.
Mr Boots and his family said they did not wish to make any further comments about the case.
THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF POSTNATAL DEPRESSION
Postnatal depression typically develops in the first one to two months after childbirth, but can develop several months later.
Low mood, believing you are unable to cope and difficulty sleeping are all common symptoms of the depression.
Mood changes, irritability and tearfulness are all common after birth but normally fade shortly after birth.
If the symptoms persist, it could indicate postnatal depression.
As long as postnatal depression is recognised and treated, it is a temporary condition you can recover from, the NHS assures patients.
It is very important to seek treatment as it is unlikely to 'cure' itself.
Treatment for postnatal depression includes self-help advice, cognitive behavioural therapy and antidepressant medicine.
PND is thought to be the result of several things including physical and emotional stress of looking after a newborn baby, hormonal changes and social problems inclduing anxiety over money.
Women deemed more at risk of PND are those who have a previous history of depression.