Australian woman who killed eight children declared to be of 'unsound mind'

She killed seven of her own kids and a niece; judge determines she was having a psychotic episode


News Desk May 04, 2017
Children attend a church service for eight children who were killed PHOTO: REUTERS

Raina Thaiday, a 40-year-old Australian woman who stabbed and killed eight children at her home, will not be standing trial as she has been declared of  "unsound mind" at the time the incident took place.


Thaiday was undergoing a psychotic episode when she killed seven of her children, four sons and three daughters, and her niece in Cairns in December 2014. The legal decision about her trial was made last month but has just surfaced publicly.


This means that Thaiday will not be held criminally responsible for the killings. Meanwhile, she is being held at a high-security centre in Brisbane. However, it remains unclear whether she will be released back into the community or not.


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The house where the killings had taken place of the children, aged between two and 14 years, has been razed and replaced with a park in remembrance of Malili, Angelina, Shantae, Rayden, Azariah, Daniel, Rodney and Patrenella.

Thaiday, also known as Mersane Warria, was charged with the murder of eight children, but the Queensland Mental Health Court had ruled that she could not stand trial. Various psychiatrists had testified that Thaiday was of unsound mental health. While experts said that she had never been treated for mental illness it was possible that her state had worsened in the months before the incident.

Thaiday believed that she was the "chosen one", taking an obsession with cleansing in order to protect her family and herself from demons. Dr Jane Phillips, a forensic expert, told the court that "She heard the sound of a bird and believed from hearing that sound it was a message she must kill the children to save them."

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Dr Frank Varghese said that Thaiday suffered from an "apocalyptic delusional state". He said that  "This is quite a unique case and a horrendous case, the likes of which I've never seen before," "This is schizophrenia at its very depth and its worst." Lewis Warria, Thaiday's eldest son, had discovered the bodies after finding his mother in front of their house, having stabbed herself 35 times.

According to Justice Jean Dalton there was enough evidence to show that Thaiday's actions were out of her control. He said that "Ms Thaiday had a mental illness that deprived her of capacity at the time of the killing." Dalton said "That is, that she is entitled to the defence of unsoundness of mind - there is just no doubt about that on the evidence, and there is no doubt about the legal conclusion that flows from that."

This article originally appeared on BBCNews.

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