'Her motive was altruistic ...'
SubmittedThe trial continues in the drowning deaths of Sophie and Serena Campione at the hands of their mother, Elaine.
Elaine Campione was suffering from a host of mental disorders that were left untreated, despite the fact that she had been to hospital psychiatric wards four times before she killed her children, a psychiatrist told a jury on Tuesday.
Campione, 35, is now on trial for the first-degree murders of her toddlers Serena, 3 and Sophia, 1, who were drowned in the bathtub and then dressed and propped in their mother's bed Oct. 2, 2006.
The mother has admitted she killed her children, but her lawyer argues she is not criminally responsible because she was suffering from mental illness and could not understand right from wrong.
On the witness stand, forensic psychiatrist Jeffery McMaster told the jury that Campione has symptoms of psychosis, paranoia, depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder.
He said he examined Campione two years after the incident, but the interview was challenging, as she could not remember killing her children, so he relied heavily on past hospital records. In one incident in 2005, records show she went running through her father-in-law's home looking for aliens that would attack her children.
"That, to me, is psychotic symptoms," said the doctor.
In another incident, he said, records show she believed her husband was with the mafia and wanted to kill her. And in several other incidents, he says, she shows paranoia that someone is going to take or hurt her children.
"It's a repeating theme. She believes her children are in danger. We see this time and time again," said McMaster.
"She was left untreated for her disorders ... left untreated, the psychosis worsens."
He said Campione's grip on her children tightened to the point where she refused to let her husband have access to them.
"She did not want to give the children up even for a few hours," said McMaster. "She believed she was the only one who could protect them."
Eventually, she believed she had to kill them "out of love", said the doctor.
"Her motive was altruistic ... she viewed herself as their protector and she was unable to protect them in any other way."
In the months before she killed them, there were "glimpses" of what she might do, but they were essentially ignored, said the doctor.
"She was not adequately treated for her disorders."
He said one hospital record shows that Campione viewed herself and her two children as one entity, and that, if she wished to die, she assumed her children wished to die also.
He said a social worker asked for further exploration, asking: "Does this mean she could be homicidal with them?"
While various doctors prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-depression medication for Campione, she wouldn't take it, said the doctor.
"There was no follow-up." The Crown has hotly disputed
the allegation that Campione had any mental illness and alleges Campione killed her children out of revenge against her ex-husband.
The Crown will cross-examine the psychiatrist Wednesday.