Mum had hallucinations before strangling her son with dressing gown cord

Christy Ruddell - toddler who was taken to Peterlee Police Station by his mother, Melanie Ruddell
Christy Ruddell - toddler who was taken to Peterlee Police Station by his mother, Melanie Ruddell
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A MUM who strangled her young son to death told how she hallucinated and heard voices in her head at the time of the tragedy.

Melanie Ruddell walked into a police station carrying the body of two-year-old Christy, an inquest heard.

The 39-year-old was in such a state of helplessness that she took the toddler’s life after failing to take her own.

Click here to read how the mum was given a hospital order by a court

Speaking publicly for the first time about the horrific incident – via video link from a secure unit – Ms Ruddell said: “I felt anxious and I was frightened for Christy.

“I was confused, very confused. I heard voices and screaming.

“I was scared to a level as though I was hanging off a cliff. I was exhausted.”

The inquest at Sunderland Civic Centre, which is continuing today, was told it was following the break-up of her marriage to husband Alan that Ms Ruddell’s mental state worsened.

After initial concerns from friends and family, she went to hospital for treatment.

After being seen by a doctor, she discharged herself in a rush to be reunited with her son, who was with her brother at his home in West Rainton.

It was there that she killed the toddler before taking him to Peterlee Police station.

“The doctor said he would like me to see the team of people at the hospital,” she added.

“I said ‘I’ve got to get back to Christy.’ I just couldn’t think properly.

“I wanted the police to come and protect us, but at two in the morning I thought ‘that’s it, we’re going to be separated for ever and ever.’

“Everything was hopeless.”

Her friend Carol-Ann Beeston also gave evidence at the hearing, of how she tried in vain to keep Ms Ruddell at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, knowing she needed professional help.

“She was so deranged at this point,” said Ms Beeston. “She was talking a load of gobbledygook.”

Coroner Derek Winter yesterday formally re-opened the inquest into Christy’s death, at Sunderland Civic Centre.

The hearing, which is being attended by many friends and family of the youngster, is expected to last two weeks.

After originally been charged with Christy’s murder in August 2010, prosecutors accepted Ms Ruddell’s guilty plea to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Ruddell took Christy’s body to Peterlee police station.

Mr Justice McCombe sentenced Ruddell, formally of Castle Eden, to an indefinite hospital order where she has been receiving treatment for her illness.


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