Wales

Carly Ann Harris 'drowned child and tried to burn body'

Amelia Brooke Harris was found dead at a property in Trealaw Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Amelia Brooke Harris was found dead at a property in Trealaw

A mother deliberately drowned her four-year-old daughter in the bath before setting fire to her body on a coffee table in the garden, a court has heard.

Carly Ann Harris believed she had to "sacrifice" Amelia on 8 June to prove her own faith to God.

The facts are not disputed and jurors were told to consider the defendant's "profound" mental health issues.

Ms Harris, 38, from Tonypandy, Rhondda Cynon Taff, denies murder and manslaughter at Newport Crown Court.

Jurors were told they must decide if she is not guilty of murder by reason of insanity or guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

The court heard Ms Harris described herself in police interviews as "a fallen angel and had to prove her strength", adding that Amelia would have to be "cold-washed and burned".

Jurors heard she told Amelia: "You're going to see the angels. See you in heaven."

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Carly Ann Harris arriving to court during an earlier appearance

Prosecutor Michael Jones QC said: "On that day, Carly Ann Harris placed Amelia in a bath full of water and deliberately drowned her."

He said the defendant then took the body out of the bath and outside wrapped in toilet paper and covered in a sheet.

He added: "She placed her body on a coffee table situated in the garden and then set fire to Amelia's body."

Mr Jones told the jury they would hear evidence about the injuries, the cause of death and the mental health issues, as the defendant was suffering from anxiety and believed people were stalking her.

"There is no dispute as to what Harris did that day. The evidence that you hear is not in dispute," he said.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Police were called to the home in the summer

"You will hear psychiatric evidence to the profound and overwhelming mental health issues that affect and continue to affect Harris."

Neighbours described hearing screaming coming from Harris' house in Trealaw and then going out into the street and seeing her children visibly upset.

The court heard at about 10:00, Ms Harris appeared outside the house and said: "Amelia has gone to heaven. Don't go out the back, she's gone to heaven."

Neighbour Darren Griffiths said in a statement: "Carly was saying, 'I would never harm my daughter but she was born for Jesus and she is with the angels now'."

'Jesus told me to do it'

The police were called and jurors heard she told police: "The angels told me to do it. Just arrest me, it's OK."

When she was cautioned, she said: "Jesus told me to do it. She will be OK. Trust me. I'm not crazy, I promise you.

"I promise you I wouldn't do that to my only girl if she wasn't returning."

But later at the police station, the court heard she also said: "I'm a monster."

The defendant told police she had been having "visions of angels" and was required to "sacrifice her daughter in order to prove my faith".

Mr Jones said Ms Harris had been taking "small amounts" of amphetamines leading up to the incident, but experts agreed she had not been suffering from drug-induced psychosis.

The trial continues.

Related Topics