Mentally-ill mum drowned seven-year-old son in bath and declared him a witch, a court hears

Christina Acres, 37, admits killing George Acres at the family home last July but has pleaded not guilty to his murder by reason of insanity.

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said that Acres had “a history of mental illness”, adding: “On any view, this is a deeply tragic case.”

He said the mum strangled the lad before drowning him on the morning of July 23 — the start of the school ­summer holidays — in Rochford, Essex.

The court heard that in the days before the tragedy she believed people were trying to murder her and talked of the “Illuminati”, and that after the killing she referred to George as a “witch”.

Acres and her son were living at her parents' home in Rochford at the time of the killing, following the breakdown of her marriage in 2012.

On the day of George's death, Acres's lorry driver father was at work in Lowestoft, Suffolk, and her mother was also due at work.

"She (Acres's mother) satisfied herself as best she could that Mrs Acres would be alright and left for work at about 8.15am," said Mr Jackson.

"About an hour later at about 9.20am Mrs Acres telephoned her father and repeatedly asked him to come home."

Her father alerted his wife, who called a community psychiatric nurse, then he received a further call from Acres.

"She told her father she had just strangled George and wanted to … kill herself. He immediately called his wife and she raced home.

"There she found George's body."

The trial at Basildon crown court continues.

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Jailed Brit mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘was asked to spy on UK for Iran in exchange for freedom'

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was to start an initial three-day fast on Monday in protest against being denied medical care in Iran's Evin prison.

The 40-year-old, of Hampstead, north-west London, has been detained for more than 1,000 days, having been accused of spying, a charge she vehemently denies.

Her husband Richard told reporters at a news conference today: "What really pushed her over the edge was they tried to make her become a spy for Iran against the UK," Sky News reported.

He claimed officials told her that by agreeing to the request, she would be released after more than 1,000 days in jail.

Richard added: "She was told it would be safer for her and safer for her family afterwards if she agreed to do this.

"She was told to think about it and that they would return. She has been terrified ever since."

Human rights charity Redress renewed calls for the Government to end her "appalling" treatment by taking "immediate steps to secure her release", including by granting her diplomatic protection.

The Foreign Office said Jeremy Hunt is considering whether to take this course of action, having discussed it with her


Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, who has long campaigned for her release, said she been refused medical attention for lumps in her breasts, neurological care for pains in her limbs and access to an external psychiatrist.

The first wave of her strike – alongside Iranian human rights defender Narges Mohammadi, who is also detained in Evin – was to last three days.

But she will consider extending it if her demands to see a doctor are not met.

Redress argues that her release should be secured by Britain granting her diplomatic protection, a process under international law that states can enact to obtain repatriation for an illegal act against one of their nationals.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "The Foreign Secretary has discussed this issue with Richard Ratcliffe, and is keen to take a decision as soon as possible.

"We continue to take action on all our consular cases in Iran in line with what we believe will produce the best outcomes in their cases."

Thomson Reuters Foundation chief executive Monique Villa has said it is "extremely shocking" to see a "totally innocent" employee begin such a drastic protest.


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Mum parodies Kate Upton sexily dancing in a bikini as she tells women to 'dream bigger' than losing weight

Blogger Laura – AKA Knee Deep In Life – shared a video of herself parodying model Kate Upton dancing, before telling her followers: "Promise to be kinder to yourself."

Posting on New Year's Eve, Laura wrote: "Before you make new resolutions about how you want your body to be different, that you swear the diet will work this time or that you'll promise to go to the gym more.

"Just take a moment to thank yourself for being f***ing amazing, for achieving 2018, because you're still here babes! F***, that's amazing.

"You're entering into a brand new year and maybe, just maybe you could dream bigger than the diet or gym routine, maybe dream of finding all the reasons why you're absolutely amazing, incredible and enough right now.

"Tonight ring in the New Year with a promise to be kinder to yourself, to surround yourselves with the people who matter, to work harder on finding you and reminding yourself why I think you're f***ing fabulous."

She added: "2019 we find ourselves and we make it our b****. Here's to you babes, the one who lost too much of yourself along the way, be ready to reclaim that beautiful mind, body and soul."

Proving that she'd be the first to follow her own advice, she said of the funny dancing clip: "When you think slow motion makes you look like a belly dancer.

"But you just end up p***ing a little because your body can't take that much physical activity."

Laura's post has now racked up over 159k views, 390 comments and 300 shares.

People are praising her body-positive message, with one writing: "I think I love you a little bit. You put everything into words so well. Here's to finding myself."

Another said: "This is exactly my plan for 2019. Make time for me. Be a little healthier and hopefully a little happier too. You are amazing x."

Laura is known for her uplifting – and hilarious – Facebook posts.

Back in September, she made us laugh out loud by trying to squeeze into Spanx for a "Jennifer Lopez stomach" – before it went VERY wrong.

And just last weekend, she parodied a sexy bikini advert to show how ridiculously skimpy the pants are.

Meanwhile, one woman has revealed her mum body-shamed her after she announced her pregnancy.

A swimwear model, 21, shared an unedited snap of her cellulite after being trolled on Instagram.

And the fashion brand behind the VERY high-cut bikini has responded to the controversy by raising awareness of cervical cancer.

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Mum who kidnapped her boy, 4, and took him 4,000 miles away walks free from court after the boy's dad urges judge not to jail her

Nakisa Hoodfar, 31, tricked Kyle Wallwork into signing passport papers on the false basis she was taking their four-year-old son on holiday to Spain.

But the restaurant manager, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, had actually taken him to live in Kuwait with her new boyfriend.

Mr Wallwork – who was separated from Hoodfar – only realised he had been duped when he couldn't get hold of her to speak to his son and called cops.

But Hoodfar, who went onto have two more children and marry, spent three years in Kuwait before returning to the UK of her own accord in July this year.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Hoodfar admitted child abduction and was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years.

The boy now eight is currently living with his mother, her husband and his two half-siblings, at an address in Withington, Manchester.

In a statement Mr Wallwork said: "She took my son from me for over three years knowing that I would not have consented.

"That’s a massive chunk of his life I have missed.

"I am always thinking of what is best for my son and I don’t want to remove him from his mother.

"I do get to see him most weekends. I don’t want her to go to prison, but what she did cannot go unpunished.

"Those three years have lost me a massive amount of time with my son."

Hoodfar, who had custody of the boy, took him to Kuwait in July 2015 after splitting from Mr Wallwork and meeting a new man.

Prosecuting, David Lees, said: “Mr Wallwork was having regular contact with his son but the defendant asked for his consent to get a passport for the boy so she could take him on holiday to Spain.

''Mr wallwork agreed but became suspicious when he couldn’t get hold of Miss Hoodfar.

"He kept trying until August 31, called the police then found out that she had taken their son to Kuwait, which she was not allowed to do.

"A court order was made for his return but it was not until July this year that he was returned, so three years after he was taken out of this jurisdiction.

''But she would enable Skype contact between the two of them while in Kuwait.

"She told Kyle that she left the country to have a new life in Kuwait with a new partner. She did, however, return on her own accord.''

In mitigation, defence lawyer Kelly Cyples, said: "Ms Hoofar did not intend remain out of the country for the amount of time that she did.

“In Kuwait, she kept her son and his father in regular contact, and she invited Mr Wallwork to see his son, but he declined.

"She didn’t have any knowledge that what she did was an offence of abduction, she didn’t realise you could abduct your own child."

Ms Cyples added: "She fell pregnant twice, both were unplanned, and there is a law in Kuwait that prevents the mother travelling without her child without the father’s permission.

“There’s no risk now of the boy being taken out of this jurisdiction again.

"Since her return, she has secured employment and she looks after three children.

"She is the only person in the house who has a job as her husband cannot work yet in this country."

Sentencing Judge Tina Landale told her he was handing her a "lenient sentence" for her son's welfare.

He said: "Your offence is extremely serious. It is particularly serious because of the lengthy period you abducted him for – three years.

"Your offence has caused damage to the emotional relationship with him and his father.

“You kept him out of the country despite knowing there was a court order for his return.

"You have shown a total disregard for the court process.

“In mitigation, you do offer some contact with his father now and you are co-operating with the authorities to re-establish their relationship.

"The boy's father thinks that he is best with you.

“The personal mitigation and, most importantly, your son's welfare allows me to suspend your sentence."

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Mum gives birth to baby boy on country road after her waters broke from hitting a pothole in frantic dash to hospital

Aimee Young, from Forfar in Scotland, was being rushed to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee by her mum and auntie when it became clear she was going to give birth before making it there.

They were forced to pull off the A90 near Tealing and baby was delivered there.

Baby Peter was born on November 10 at 9.32am, weighing 8lb and 4oz.

Aimee, 25, said: "I was in labour and I thought I could make it to the hospital. We were just on the way to Dundee from Forfar on the A90.

“The contractions then started coming, harder and stronger – but my water had not broken. It broke after we hit a pothole.

“My auntie, who was driving, went into a country road at Todhills, and pulled over by the Halley Robert and Sons garage. I was there for what I felt like forever for me – the baby, at this point, was crowning.”

Teen who didn’t know she was 8 months pregnant shocked at ‘sudden’ bump when docs turned her baby in the womb

An emergency call was made and emergency services rushed out to deliver the baby.

Aimee added: "We were on a country road; my auntie went to the road to flag them down. The crew came and managed to get me into the ambulance.

“They were in the middle of a three point turn, and during the second stage of the turn, the guy in the back told the man driving to come in the back – but before he could get in the back, Peter was already born.

"I did not get a chance to thank them – it was over quite quickly, and after the birth, we just went to the hospital. I just want to say thanks for getting to me and finding me in a silly place.”

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Mum accidentally bakes rude Hercules cake for her son featuring a very well-endowed Pegasus

But one devoted mother has been left red-faced after the Hercules-themed birthday cake she made for her son ended up looking VERY rude.

Submitting the hilarious baking fail to the Awkward Family Photos Instagram page, the woman’s husband wrote: “The cake my wife made was supposed to portray Pegasus and Baby Pegasus.

“She doesn’t understand why everyone kept laughing.”

While there’s no denying having the silhouette of both Baby Pegasus and his older self on one cake is a nice idea, the execution has spectacularly backfired on the unsuspecting mum.

If you look closely at the white silhouette, the gap between the younger Pegasus’ neck and wings has accidentally left the older Pegasus looking rather well-endowed…

Taking to the comments to poke fun at the Disney design, one user wrote: “Took me a minute to find the baby Pegasus… found the fifth leg in seconds.”

Confused by the daring design, another added: “Where is baby Pegasus here?”

But we personally have to agree with the person who wrote: “This is still an awesome cake.”


take the wrap

sacked off





For more embarrassing food fails, this mum accidentally baked a penis-shaped cake for her daughter’s first birthday.

And this mum ordered a monkey cake for her daughter’s birthday… and people think it looks VERY rude.

Plus this woman spent £50 on a “bicep” cake for her boyfriend… but what she receives is VERY different.

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Mum claims 'angels told her to drown daughter, 4, and set fire to her body in garden'

Carly Ann Harris, 38, allegedly told cops who found the four-year-old's charred body under a sheet on a coffee table in the garden "I'm a monster".

Little Amelia Brooke Harris died at the family home in Trealaw, Tonypandy on June 8.

After Harris was taken to the police station she allegedly said: “I deserve to die. What the f***? My little girl. The angels said it must be done.”

The jury was told neighbour Megan Griffiths heard a raised voice saying "mummy, mummy, mummy" before they heard screaming and found Harris standing in the front garden.

She allegedly told them: "God will be with her. The angels have taken her."

They went into the back garden and found the little girl's body under a sheet.

Neighbour Darren Griffiths said in a statement: "Carly was saying, 'I would never harm my daughter but she was born for Jesus and she is with the angels now'."

She told police she had been having "visions of angels" and was required to "sacrifice her daughter in order to prove my faith".

The court heard Harris described herself as a "a fallen angel and had to prove her strength" and that Amelia would have to be “cold-washed and burned”.

Opening the case for the Crown, Michael Jones QC, prosecuting, told the jury: "This defendant, Carly Ann Harris, killed her four-year-old daughter Amelia by placing her in a bath of water and deliberately drowning her at their home address.

"The defendant then took Amelia's dead body out of the bath, covered her with a sheet, carried her downstairs and placed her body on a coffee table that was situated in the back garden, and then set fire to Amelia's body."

Amelia's body had been "taken out of the bath, wrapped in toilet paper and carried outside covered in a sheet".

She said she had taken amphetamine to make her “more aware” and “opened her third eye”.

Amelia was wearing a flowery jumpsuit and eating sweets when her mother told her: “You’re going to see the angels. See you in heaven.”

One juror was excused ten minutes into the trial because she could not bear to hear the gruesome details of how Amelia died.

Mr Jones told jurors Harris had been shopping with pal Nicky Jones and Amelia earlier that day.

She said Harris "appeared to be the happiest" she had seen her for some time.

Miss Jones called Harris around 7.30pm to ask if Amelia wanted to go to a play centre the following day, to which Harris replied: "We can't tomorrow because I haven't got Amelia.

"She's gone to heaven. She's safe now."

Harris then told her friend: "I'm only messing."

The court heard how a family member said she had "not been well" for some six weeks before the incident.

Mr Jones said the family member described how Harris had been suffering from anxiety and believed she and their family were being stalked.

Mr Jones said: "He described how she had suffered with anxiety."

Mr Jones told the jury: "Although this is obviously a harrowing and tragic case, it is important you put any emotions aside as you listen to this case.

"There is no dispute as to what Harris did that day. The evidence that you hear is not in dispute.

“You will hear psychiatric evidence to the profound and overwhelming mental health issues that affect and continue to affect Harris.”

Harris denied murder and manslaughter at Newport Crown Court.

The judge told the the jury they must decide if she is not guilty of murder by reason of insanity or guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

Harris, of Tonypandy, Rhondda, sobbed during the opening of the trial and had to be given a glass of water.

The trial continues.

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Teen mum, 19, caged after leaving daughters, one and two to die in baking 48C car for 15 HOURS while she smoked drugs

Amanda Hawkins, who described herself as a “sex addict”, left Addyson and Brynn in a vehicle overnight, for at least 10-15 hours, while she smoked marijuana.

In Kerr County, Texas, Judge N. Keith Williams slammed her selfish behaviour, telling her, “people in our community take better care of their pets than you took care of your kids.

“Those precious little girls would still be here today if this had not happened.”

The judge told her he would have sentenced her to further punishment if that had been possible, reports Hill Country Breaking News.

Hawkins, now aged 20, was sent to jail last Wednesday for the June 2017 deaths of her two daughters in Kerrville, about 65 miles (105km) northwest of San Antonio.

She had pleaded guilty in September to two counts of child abandonment and endangerment, and two counts of injury to a child.

Hawkins received four 20-year sentences, with the judge stacking the charges to make them consecutive, bringing the total time in prison to 40 years.

She left one-year-old Brynn Hawkins and two-year-old Addyson Overgard-Eddy inside her vehicle while she visited mates at a Kerrville home on June 6, 2017, according to police reports.

Hawkins was smoking marijuana with her friends in a shed outside the home that night.

Witnesses reported hearing the toddlers – who had been given no food or drink after 2.30am – crying inside the car.

Hawkins retrieved the girls from the vehicle the following afternoon when the temperature inside the car was estimated to have been 48C (119F) according to a vehicle interior temperature scale formulated by San Francisco State University.

She bathed the children and searched the internet for advice on how to treat heat stroke before taking the toddlers to hospital, prosecutors said.

However the girls were pronounced dead at a San Antonio hospital on June 8, 2017.

“The most compelling piece of evidence was the slow and painful deaths these children endured — with cramps, headaches, seizures, anxiety and wondering ‘where’s mommy,’” said Judge Williams.

Multiple witnesses testified that Hawkins had told them the girls became ill after smelling flowers at a park in Kerrville, when their faces turned red.

She told people she wasn’t taking them to hospital because she “didn’t want to go to jail”.

After running cold water on the youngsters in a bathtub, Hawkins finally took them to Peterson Regional Medical Center two hours later, where she repeated the flower sniffing tale.

The toddlers were transferred to University Hospital in San Antonio, where Dr John Gebhart tried to save their lives over the next 40 hours.

He told the court that while her daughters were dying, Hawkins was busy joking, giggling and texting most of the time.

Dr Gebhart said the girls would have gone into “profound” shock and that they would have suffered very painful deaths.

“Brain swelling is what actually killed these kids,” he explained.

During sentencing, the judge alluded to letters Hawkins had sent from jail to at least three men.

They talked about sex, boob and butt jobs, and Hawkins described herself as a “sex addict”.

She apologised for her actions before Williams handed down his sentencing.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I think about what I should have done,” Hawkins said.

“It’s heartbreaking, and it will affect me for the rest of my life.”

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Mum claims daughter, 3, captured 'Peter Pan' grandad talking to her from the GRAVE in Snapchat video

Katie Mercer was letting little Madelyne record herself on her phone when what sounds like a man's voice can be heard on the app.

The tot, with a harlequin filter over her face, says into the camera, "a cheeky, little…" but as she pauses to think a male voice appears to prompt her with the word "monkey".

Katie, 24, says she was "freaking out" whens he watched the footage back and showed it to her mum who immediately identified it as her late husband Peter Mercer.

Madelyne was just five months old when Peter, who was nicknamed "Peter Pan" by his friends and family, sadly passed away from throat cancer aged 63.

Katie, of Penmaenmawr, Conwy, North Wales, said: “Madelyne likes to take videos of herself on my phone.

“This time she was using a filter but it’s not a voice changing filter. It’s her voice you can hear for most of the video.

“I didn’t hear the man’s voice until the fifth time I’d replayed the video.

“Madelyne starts off saying ‘a cheeky, little’ and then she paused like she’s thinking.

“While she’s paused you can hear a male voice say ‘monkey’ like he’s prompting her. Then Madelyne says ‘monkey’.

“The man’s voice and what he’s saying is so clear. It’s crazy. When I first heard it I really freaked out.

“I showed the video to my mum and she instantly said it sounds like my dad. Quite a few people have said the same since then.

“It is a bit freaky but I really do believe it’s him and it’s so comforting to know he’s with her and looking after her.”

This video isn’t the first hint Katie has had that her dad might be watching over Madelyne.

The little girl often tells her mum about a ghost in the house and instead of playing with her little sister Louisa Jones, two, sits alone chatting away in one-sided conversations.

When Madelyne’s mum asks her what she’s up to, the tot replies that she’s "playing with grandad".

Katie said: “There have been a few things that have gone on before this. Madelyne would tell me about a ghost going up and down the stairs at night.

“I tried to tell her it’s just the house going to sleep because that’s what my dad used to tell me but she replied ‘no, it’s the ghost who sleeps in my bedroom’.

“My dad passed away when Madelyne was just five months old so she’s too young to remember him.

“He did get to meet her after she was born. He loved every bone of her.

“Everyone called my dad Peter Pan because he was so outgoing and young at heart. People never would have thought he’d go, especially not as young as he did.”

While some people have been sceptical about the video, it has made Katie a firm believer in the paranormal.

Katie said: “Some people have said the voice sounds robotic and that the video is edited but I don’t even know how to edit videos.

“I used to be the same. I was so sceptical when people would tell me about their paranormal experiences.

“But after listening to this video and hearing my dad, I really do believe. It’s made me so much more open-minded.”

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‘Desperate’ mum 'drowned her twin 10-month baby sons in bathtub hours after she was booted out of women's refuge'

Heather Langdon faces murder charges after 10-month-old Mason and Maddox Murguia died in California on Thursday.

The 37-year-old was taken into custody a day after she was asked to leave a shelter in Tulare for causing a disturbance.

Police Sgt. Jon Hamlin said officers had no previous contact with Langdon and would have called for mental health assistance if they'd suspected she was a danger to herself or the twins.

He said cops had helped her to find the room at the Virginia Lodge Motel after learning that she'd been asked to leave the shelter.

Sergeant Hamlin said Tulare Police department received a 911 call around 7.45am on Thursday.

He said: "We received a call for a possible drowning of two infants.

"Officers were dispatched to the scene and immediately started performing CPR."

The twins were taken by ambulance to a local hospital where they were pronounced dead.

Motel owner Jay Bhakta told the Visalia Times Delta that police officers had dropped off Langdon and the boys during the evening of December 5.

He said he did not charge Langdon for the room because he wanted to help her.

Bhakta said he was shocked when he saw the babies being taken away in two ambulances.

He said: "In 26 years, this is the first time I've seen this."

Investigators have not yet identified the twins' father.

It is unclear if Langdon — who is behind bars without bail — has appeared before a judge to enter pleas to her charges.

It was also unknown if she has hired a lawyer who could comment on her behalf.


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