Friday, January 29, 2010

Mother killed son, 4, 'as a religious sacrifice'

Mother killed son, 4, 'as a religious sacrifice' just days after being released from a psychiatric ward
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:22 PM on 28th January 2010
A mother killed her four-year-old son as a religious sacrifice just days after being freed from a hospital and allowed to look after him.

Emma Manser, 24, believed she was the Messiah and had to sacrifice her own life and that of her young son Ryan.

She smothered him to death with a pillow four days after being released from a mental hospital and hours after warning her family that she wanted to kill them all.

Tragic: Emma Manser, left, killed her four-year-old Ryan and stabbed his grandmother Wendy Richards, 44, several times in Exeter, Devon
She then stabbed her own mother five times as she tried to resuscitate the boy, an inquest heard today.

Emma hanged herself three months later at a mental hospital in Sussex where she was being held.

Ryan Manser was on the child protection register and has been supervised by social workers since he was born.

A Serious Case Review carried out after Ryan was killed in April 2007 made 20 recommendations and the boy’s family have complained that more could have been done to protect him.

An inquest in Honiton, Devon, heard how Emma Manser had a history of mental illness dating back to her late teens when she had complained of being bullied and had started taking cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine.

She spent most of the nine months before the killing at the Cedars Unit at Wonford House Hospital in Exeter, where she was allowed home leave to visit Ryan at the home of her mother Wendy Richards in Whipton, Exeter.

Scene of crime: Mincinglake Road, Exeter, Devon where Ryan Manser was found dead
On the night of the killing she and the boy were both sleeping on mattresses on the floor of the living room when she smothered him with a pillow. They had been doing a jigsaw puzzle together just minutes earlier.

Mother-of-four Mrs Richards, aged 56, sobbed as she told the inquest Emma had threatened to kill all the family but she had not taken it seriously.

She said:'I thought she was only joking and didn’t mean it. I asked her why she came out with these things and told her she scared people.

'I went to bed and woke to find Emma standing there. She said: "What have I done to Ryan? Look what I have done to Ryan".

'She was icy. Her eyes were huge and empty. The way she said it was creepy and scary. Ryan was pale and lacking life. I screamed for someone to call an ambulance and tried pumping his chest.

'Emma came back into the room and said "I’ll kill you all" and I felt something go into my shoulder. I saw something shiny and she stabbed me again. I could feel the blood gurgling from my back.

'I don’t know why it happened. She had slept like that with Ryan quite a few times and nothing untoward had happened. I didn’t think she was a risk to Ryan. I didn’t think she would hurt him.

'I think they let her out too early. I told the social workers she should not be out so early. She still came out with lots of stupid things and I could tell she was not right. You could tell it from her eyes.

'It was hard because it was left to me whether to let her see Ryan or not. I could not turn her away because she was his mum.

'She had threatened to harm him, but she threatened to kill all of us. It was something she would say.

'At her worst she used to say she was the Messiah and had been put on earth to do God’s work. She thought she could read people’s thoughts, and they could read hers.

'She said she was going to take her life as a sacrifice and she was going to sacrifice Ryan as well. That afternoon I told her to stop going on about the Messiah and God because Ryan was around.'

Mrs Richards said her daughter had not changed because of her abuse of drugs but that it happened after Ryan’s birth. At first she coped well but then started staying in bed for much of the day, leaving the child on his own.

Mr Warren Robinson, representing Emma’s father Robert, has asked the coroner to examine how Ryan came to be killed at a time when his case was well known to social services and he was on the at risk register.

He said a summary of the Serious Case Review has been published, containing 20 recommendations, but its findings have not been released.

The inquest is continuing and the doctors and social workers are expected to give evidence tomorrow.

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