A teenage schoolboy whose brothers were stabbed by their mum told police he had heard her “threaten to hurt” them, a jury heard on Friday.
In a video-taped interview four days after the March 2020 incident that left one toddler dead and his youngest sibling fighting for his life, the 15-year-old told detectives that during one of the regular arguments between his mum and her partner, “I think she threatened to harm them that night”, and she also threatened to kill herself.
“I think I have heard her say it before when they were arguing but I don’t know when that was,” said the boy.
“He was threatening to call the police, but she was threatening to do something,” he told the officer.
When asked if his mum “had threatened to harm the kids”, he said “yeah".
“Is that right, that you felt mum was threatening to harm the little ones?” the officer asked.
To this, the teenager said “uhm hmm”, nodding his head in agreement.
When pushed further on what he could recall, the teenager said he could not remember what was specifically allegedly threatened. He said: “I think their dad was wanting to phone the police, but mum said if he phoned the police she will do something.”
He told investigators during the almost two-hour interview he had witnessed his mum repeatedly physically assault both his biological father and the dad of the boys, and made so many threats of suicide he couldn’t “keep count”.
Police also asked: “Have you ever been afraid of mum?”
The boy replied: “No, maybe afraid for someone else, but not me, no.”
When asked who he was referring to, he said: “My brothers and their dad and my dad.”
The 41-year-old Co Antrim woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her children, is on trial accused of murdering her two-year-old son and the attempted murder of his 11-month-old brother on March 2, 2020. She has pleaded not guilty to both charges.
The jury has already heard evidence of the accused putting multiple morphine pain relief patches on the children before stabbing them numerous times in the bedroom of the family home. She allegedly left “suicide notes” saying that she did not want them to “experience pain” and “I'm taking my kids with me because I can't leave them with their dad”.
Both had sustained stab wounds to their necks and abdomens, but the older boy died as a result of a neck wound that severed an artery and a vein. The blade had penetrated so deep that it touched his spine, while his brother came within millimetres of the same fate and had to undergo emergency surgery.
It is the Crown’s case that the mother either intended to kill the two children or at least intended to cause her sons serious harm. The defence argues that at the time, she was suffering from an abnormality of the mind that substantially impaired her thinking, decision-making and perception of consequences.
When the boys’ father gave evidence, he told the jury while he had been physically assaulted, he “never saw her hurt or harm any of the children” and also there had been “no threat that the children would ever be hurt”.
Today the jury heard the boy tell police that while he had witnessed the boys’ father being assaulted, the violence only ever went one way and his mum had never been grabbed, pushed or assaulted.
Like his younger sister, whose video was played in court on Thursday, the teenager had been at school when his mum stabbed his brothers.
Describing a “pretty normal” day, he said he awoke around 7am to find his brother in his room. He told him to go away, and after getting ready, left for school.
“I got took out of class by the principal who took me to her office and said, ‘can I have your phone?’ I said ‘no, tell me why’, and she said that the police are coming to talk to you… then I saw my uncle and he told me.”
Asked about the weekend leading up to the incident, he told police his mum and partner had been arguing on the Saturday and that when he was in the car with her, “she said I’m thinking about just leaving him, packing everything and going”.
Echoing his sister’s account, he recounted how there were “too many arguments” between the couple but that he stayed in his room and “didn’t pay attention to them”.
He also described an incident when his mum took an overdose while pregnant with the boy she would stab to death and a time when she was pregnant and was “punching herself in the belly” as her partner “shouted for her to please stop”.
Turning to issues involving his own dad, the teenager said he could remember his mum punching him in the face, throwing cups of coffee over him and one time when she “burned his clothes”.
He told police: “One time I did say to her, she ran upstairs because I said to her and she said ‘dad’s fault, he done this’ – but it’s never her fault.
“I asked about the times that she’s hit him and stuff like that, but she just came out with excuses.”
The trial continues.