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December 19, 2018

Kate Brunner QC led Clare Fear in a highly unusual trial in Newport Crown Court in December 2018. A mother with undiagnosed schizophrenia had drowned her daughter and burned the body in a ritualistic ‘sacrifice’, believing that she was acting under divine instruction and that her daughter would be returned to her by angels. Two psychiatrists agreed that she did not know what she was doing was wrong: indeed she believed she was saving the world. The judge accepted legal argument that the jury should not be permitted to convict of murder as there was no reason put forward by the Crown upon which the jury could reject the psychiatric evidence in its entirety. The jury were left with potential verdicts of not guilty by reason of insanity, and guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. They acquitted and the defendant was given a hospital order – click here to read.