More than 1,000 people have signed a petition to free a Lincolnshire mum from jail and assist with mental health support after she tried to kill herself and her baby son.
The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to the attempted murder of her son in their South Lincolnshire home on May 7 this year.
After a sudden change of heart she instead rang for help, keeping herself and her child alive before telling nurses at hospital what she had done.
In response to The Lincolnite’s story about the court case, Kirsty Smith set up a petition entitled ‘The UK British Criminal Justice System criminalising the mentally ill is wrong’, which at the time of writing has 1,045 signatures.
The petition is addressed to Kit Malthouse, Minister for Crime and Policing, David Lammy, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Minister for Health, and Edward Arger, Minister of Health.
On petition page, she said: “It is clear that this woman was struggling with her mental health. She did not follow through with her plan. She was honest to all agencies involved in her case.
“This woman needs support and help not criminilisation for feeling suicidal during a Global Pandemic. We are calling on the government to look into this case and advocate for the release of this woman, and to offer the mental health support she badly needs.
“The criminilisation of people with mental health issues must stop now!”
The petition prompted further comments from people including Helen Green, who said: “She asked for help as she knew those thoughts were wrong. What does that say to other mothers who are struggling, oh keep quiet for fear of prison?”
Court case recap
The court was told the woman was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2019, brought on after years of abuse and domestic violence by the child’s father, which caused her to act this way.
Her solicitor said the relationship with the father was an abusive one, with threats of violence, harassment and sexual violence. After breaking up, she lived in a refuge for a time.
Before lockdown the father was spending supervised time with the boy, which was then interrupted by the nationwide house curfew, and was only relaxed from June.
But in May 2020 she believed that as lockdown eased, the time the father spent with the boy would resume — so her desperate act stemmed from there.
She told nurses at Peterborough City Hospital that she wanted to take her own life and take her son with her, but she was scared that nobody would look after him.
She said she wanted to kill herself as she was scared and worried about the boy’s dad, but when the boy started to cry she couldn’t go on with it.
The court heard the woman took responsibility for what she did and has since shown remorse.