A MOTHER charged with killing her five-year-old son has been cleared after a judge accepted she was suffering from a mental disorder at the time.
Farai Chiriseri yesterday made her first public appearance in the dock at the High Court in Glasgow.
The 32-year-old faced an allegation that she killed her son Scott at their home in Alva, Clackmannanshire, on 4 or 5 December last year.
The murder charge stated Zimbabwean-born Chiriseri repeatedly struck the child on the head, neck and body with knives. The boy’s heart was then removed from his body after his death.
Her QC Gary Allan lodged a special defence that she was unable to “appreciate the nature and wrongfulness” of what happened due to a mental disorder at the time.
This followed Chiriseri being examined on a number of occasions including by leading consultant psychiatrist Dr John Crichton.
Prosecutor Bruce Erroch then told the hearing: “The Crown … accept the application of the special defence in this case.”
As a result, Lord Burns yesterday formally acquitted Chiriseri. The judge imposed a compulsion and restriction order without limit of time.
Chiriseri will remain at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital for treatment.
Wearing thick black-rimmed glasses and a long coat, she showed no emotion as she was later escorted from the dock.
Scott’s father Tichakunda Chiriseri was at the hearing, but was not available for comment afterwards.
No further information was given yesterday into the death of Scott, who was described at his funeral as being “loved by all his friends”.
The young motor racing fan was said at the time to have suffered “a significant injury” before his mother Chiriseri was detained under the Mental Health Act.
Dr Crichton was called to give evidence at the short hearing yesterday. The psychiatrist compiled a number of reports on Chiriseri. He noted she had a “schizophreniform psychotic illness” consisting of delusions and hallucinations.
The doctor also said Chiriseri believed she was on “special mission from God” at the time.
He further remarked Chiriseri’s conversations involved “abnormal religious content”.
Asked by prosecutor Mr Erroch if Chiriseri was “continuing to make a good recovery” from her illness, Dr Crichton agreed she was. But, Dr Crichton said the case involved “an act of homicide… one with particularly disturbing features” adding Chiriseri would need supervision for the “foreseeable future”.
After yesterday’s hearing, a Crown Office spokesman said a murder charge had been brought before medical opinion was sought into Chiriseri’s state of mind.
The statement added: “The unanimous opinion of the expert reports concluded that the accused was insane at the time of the incident – therefore could not, in law, be found to be responsible for her actions.”