A woman who confessed to suffocating her 5-month-old child with the family’s copy of the Koran is on trial in western Sweden, with her defense team arguing she had a psychotic breakdown, possibly due to postpartum depression.
“I didn’t want to kill him, I wanted to save him,” the 28-year-old woman said during a hearing on Tuesday at the Halmstad District Court, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper.
The incident occurred in late July, when the woman met her husband at his workplace, where she told him she wasn’t feeling well.
“I told her that we couldn’t speak there, and that we could discuss it at home,” the husband said in court, according to the Expressen paper.
“At the same time, I suggested she could read passages from the Koran for support, as we’re both Muslims.”
However, when he arrived home the father found his child dead with 39 wounds to its body, the majority of which were caused by the holy book.
The 28-year-old mother was subsequently charged with murder, with an alternative charge of aggravated manslaughter.
“The woman intentionally killed her child. She smothered it to death and the Koran was the murder weapon,” prosecutor Anders Johansson said in court, according to Expressen.
The 28-year-old woman has confessed to the murder, blaming her actions on visions which became increasingly vivid in the weeks leading up to the killing.
“I saw horns growing out of the baby’s forehead and long vines on his body. I saw an old man’s head on his body. I wanted to save my baby, not kill him,” she said in court.
The woman’s defence lawyer argued his client was in a “psychotic state” when she committed the infanticide, something which experts suggest could be linked to postpartum depression.
“Some people can get so depressed that they want to die, and killing their own child is a type of extended suicide, with the intention of taking their life with your own,” Karin Monsen-Börjesson, psychiatrist and expert on postpartum depression at the Karolinska University Hospital, told The Local.
She explained that the condition has been linked to a number of infant murders.
“When you have any kind of depression you can become a lot more sensitive when you have a small child. But this kind of incident is very, very rare in Sweden,” Monsen-Börjesson said.
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