Brother shocked by killing

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THE brother of a mum who killed her two-year-old before carrying his body into a police station says he never thought she would harm her beloved son.

 Melanie Ruddell, 40, suffered a mental breakdown after the collapse of her marriage. She strangled her son Christy at her brother’s home in West Rainton, near Durham, in August 2010.

 Her family had become extremely concerned about her behaviour over that weekend and she was taken to the University Hospital of Hartlepool, but she left before psychiatric assessment could take place.

 At the inquest at Sunderland Civic Centre, her brother Neil Close told coroner Derek Winter that he had been concerned about Mrs Ruddell’s mental health but never believed she would harm her son.

 “I didn’t believe she would do anything silly,” said Mr Close.

 “I thought if something tragic happened, then Melanie would do something to herself.

 “Not for one second did it cross my mind (to be concerned) for Christy. She loved that little boy.”

Proceeding