Depressed Mum Sentenced For Killing Baby

12 August 2015, 12:01

A mother who admitted killing her baby girl while suffering from postnatal depression has been jailed for three years pending successful psychiatric treatment.

Erin Sutherland smothered her daughter Chloe, who was almost 10 months old, at their home in Edinburgh's Parkhead View in February.

The 36-year-old was originally charged with murder but pleaded guilty to culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility at the High Court in Edinburgh in June.

Defence counsel Gordon Jackson QC told the court today that the circumstances were ''extremely tragic'' and Sutherland had intended to take her own life as well.

Judge Lady Wise sentenced her to three years' imprisonment with a hospital direction, meaning that she will continue treatment for her mental health difficulties.

The judge told her: ``The circumstances of this case are tragic for all concerned and nothing I say today can alleviate the suffering of those who have lost Chloe.''

Chloe's father Craig Steedman and other relatives were present in court for the sentencing.

A statement was read on their behalf outside the court afterwards by Tracey Curran from Victim Support Scotland.

She said: ``Chloe's father Craig and his family are upset and saddened that the focus of reports on this case turned to how the system had failed Erin Sutherland and not the death of his precious little girl.

''Chloe was the victim in this case, a beautiful innocent child whose tragic senseless death is impossible to accept.

''Craig and his family deeply regret that Erin felt unable to accept the help and support which they were so desperate to provide.

''Sadly she seemed determined that Chloe would never be a part of either his or his family's lives.

''The system may have failed Erin, however it has also failed Craig as a father and most importantly it failed Chloe - his much-loved little girl who will be forever missed.''