A mother who believed she was a fallen angel and had to sacrifice her daughter to prove her faith to God has been found not guilty of murder.

Carly Ann Harris was accused of telling her four-year-old daughter “see you in Heaven” before drowning her in the bath and setting her body alight.

The 38-year-old told a doctor she felt “very calm” and had “done the right thing” after killing Amelia Brooke Harris at her home in Rhondda, South Wales, on June 8 this year, jurors were told.

The jury returned a “special verdict” after hearing that psychiatrists – appearing for both the prosecution and defence – agreed Harris was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

She has been sentenced at Newport Crown Court to a hospital order without limit of time.



Amelia’s teenage brother found her body, wrapped in a sheet

  

 

This means she cannot be found guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

During the two-day trial, jurors were told there was no dispute that Harris killed her daughter or about the events leading up to the incident.

Amelia’s teenage brother found her body, wrapped in a sheet, on a table in their garden in Trealaw, South Wales, on June 8 this year.



Carly Ann Harris has been found not guilty

 

Local residents heard screaming and went into the street to see what was wrong, where they saw Harris’s older children, who were visibly distressed.

Neighbour Megan Griffiths saw Harris standing in the front garden, looking “dazed”, and the defendant told her: “God will be with her. The angels have taken her.”

The neighbour dialled 999 and went into the back garden of Harris’s house where she saw Amelia’s charred remains lying on the coffee table covered with a sheet.

When the police arrived at the scene, Harris told them: “The angels told me to do it. Just arrest me. It’s OK.”



Carly Ann Harris, 37, before an earlier court appearance



Tributes were left at the scene of the killing in June

 

Judge Mr Justice Simon Picken told Harris: “A young girl rich in promise met her death at the hands of her mother and in the most horrific manner.

“I am satisfied that you are suffering from a mental health disorder, namely schizophrenia.

“The intention is that as soon as possible you will be transferred to an appropriate clinic close to home.

“I am of the opinion…that because of all the circumstances of this cause including the nature of your case, the most suitable method is me making an order under S37 of the 1983 Act and that is it necessary to protect the public from serious harm.”

One of Harris’s two sons said his mother had “not been well” for some six weeks before the incident, the court heard.

Home Office pathologist Dr Richard Jones concluded Amelia had died from drowning and was already dead when she was set on fire.

Defence barrister Kate Brunner said: “In taking her daughter’s life she destroyed her own life and brought unimaginable horror to her friends and family.

“She is profoundly remorseful and I invite the court to reflect that.”

On Friday, her trial was told she believed she was a fallen angel and had to sacrifice her daughter to prove her faith to God, Wales Online reports.



Carly Ann Harris denied both murder and manslaughter

 

And this morning, Newport Crown Court heard that she told a doctor she put the little girl in the bath to “cleanse her” and prepare her for sacrifice.

Harris, who was accused of deliberately drowning Amelia at the property before putting her body on a coffee table and setting it alight, denied both murder and manslaughter.

“She was very clear that this was a cleansing. Her daughter had to be prepared in the right way for sacrifice,” Dr Arden Tomison told the court.

“She felt a very strong sensation in herself that her “heart was consumed by golden fire”.

The doctor, who was able to examine Harris within three weeks of the incident, asked her how she felt after killing her daughter, jurors heard.

“She told me she felt very calm, that she was sure she had done the right thing… but she was broken-hearted,” he said.



Amelia Brooke Harris who tragically died at a property in South Wales

 

Prosecutor Michael Jones QC earlier told jurors that the defendant’s mental health condition “was so profound it attracts a special verdict in law”.

Today, Kate Brunner QC, representing Harris, asked Dr Tomison if he agreed with a conclusion given by another psychiatrist, Dr Philip Joseph, whose evidence went before the court on Friday. He said he did.

Dr Joseph had told the court the mum developed a “severe paranoid psychosis” two weeks before the incident.

He concluded she was suffering from paranoid psychosis, probably paranoid schizophrenia, at the time of the killing.

Dr Tomison said Harris described a particular incident which she said happened at around Passover and involved “seven spirits of God” entering her.



Carly Ann Harris was found not guilty of murder on the grounds of insanity

 

The doctor said: “She dated it from Passover when she suddenly had a sensation to being spiritually enlightened. She went on to describe for me she had seven spirits of God enter her. She was, if you like, spiritually possessed.

“She went on to give an explanation as to what that felt for her.

“It was a belief she felt with absolute conviction. She had no doubt in her own mind what had happened. She could hear something which she found very difficult to define which gave her certainty… angels were there.”

She said: “I could fear a bad atmosphere. Something bad was going to happen.”

Harris told Dr Tomison that she began to believe she was being communicated directly via advertising billboards, certain numbers and certain words, which she thought was evidence of her “special status”, the court heard.

“All these things began to have a special significance for her”,” he said.

The doctor also told the court that Harris began to think that something had to happen as she had been chosen by God to fulfil a purpose on Earth.

She began to believe her daughter had to be sacrificed and that she had to perform an act to save the world, jurors were told.

A statement on behalf of Cwm Taf Safeguarding Board said: “This was a tragic incident which shocked the community.

“We would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Amelia’s family who have acted so bravely since the incident occurred.

“We would also like to thank emergency service workers who worked so professionally when they were faced with very difficult scenes on 8th June.

“We will continue to provide the family with the help and support that they need.

“Amelia, of course, will not be forgotten.”

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