Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ill Mother Who Killed Sons May Face Execution; Woman Believed She and Children Possessed by Demon

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ill Mother Who Killed Sons May Face Execution; Woman Believed She and Children Possessed by Demon

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul James Chief Reporter

THE mother of two North children could face the death penalty for smothering them to death after becoming convinced they were possessed by a demon.

American Meghan Lippiatt, 32, admits killing two-year-old Silas and his four-month-old brother Miles in 2004, weeks after they were taken from her after a five-hour standoff with police at Newcastle Airport.

Prosecutors in Pennsylvania, where the killings happened, are now pressing for her to be convicted of first-degree murder, which is punishable with lethal injection.

But Lippiatt's defence team is arguing she is not guilty by reason of insanity.

Lippiatt met her husband Daniel, the son of a Newcastle vicar, in Carlisle in 2000 and they lived for a time at Brampton in Cumbria.

Last night, closing arguments were heard in the three-day trial and Lancaster County Judge James Cullen is due to deliver a verdict on Monday.

Lippiatt, who elected trial without jury, sobbed in the Lancaster County Courthouse as assistant district attorney Kelly Sekula described how she had methodically killed her two children at her parents' home on April 18, 2004.

Ms Sekula told the judge that two months before the boys died, when the family were living in England, Lippiatt had called 999 to say voices were telling her to harm her children.

Three days later, Lippiatt tried to fly with them to the US from Newcastle Airport, but had an emotional breakdown and locked herself and the children in a car until police intervened and she was taken to hospital.

Her parents John and Susan Kelleher took the children to the US, where she had previously lived with Daniel, whose father Michael Lippiatt was a vicar at Holy Trinity Church in Jesmond for 20 years before retiring through ill health.

Lippiatt killed the boys on the first day she was left alone with them. …

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