Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tragic End of Baby Bevin; SUICIDAL MOTHER KILLS HER SON WITH STOLEN INJECTION OF MORPHINE

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tragic End of Baby Bevin; SUICIDAL MOTHER KILLS HER SON WITH STOLEN INJECTION OF MORPHINE

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY WILLEY

A TORMENTED nurse in the grip of depression poisoned her baby with stolen morphine - then laid down to die with the infant in her arms.

Mapeseka Justinah Shapung wanted to give her son Bevin a "last sleep" when she killed the 11-month-old at the family's home.

South African born Shapung - already known to social workers and a mental health team - gave her "happy and playful" son a deadly dose of morphine she had spirited for the terrible task from a care home where she worked.

And by the time the baby's distraught dad Aggrippa Mpofu forced his way into their locked ground floor flat in George Stephenson Way, North Shields, Bevin was already lifeless and Shapung near death after swallowing a massive overdose of the same drug, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

The 31-year-old only survived after paramedics gave her an anti opiate jab before rushing her to intensive care.

And as Shapung slowly recovered, her own words and a police investigation pieced together how the tragedy unfolded in the hours between New Year's Eve and New Years Day.

"Police officers kept a vigil by her bedside and by Monday January 4, Justinah had recovered consciousness and albeit in distress, made a number of comments to the effect she had wanted to kill herself and her son," said Ben Nolan QC, prosecuting. "In terms, she said she had wanted to 'give her baby his last sleep'.

"Sadly, it seems that is what she did. A syringe was found at the flat without a needle which would indicate she administered the morphine to Bevin orally before taking her own overdose.

"It is perhaps some consolation that Bevin will have had no distress or pain and his death will have come whilst sleeping in his mother's arms."

Shapung, softly spoken and reading from a prepared sheet of paper, denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. …

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