Hospital order for daughter who killed mother with hammers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 February, 2011, 12:00am

A schizophrenic woman convicted of killing her 79-year-old mother was ordered yesterday to stay in a psychiatric hospital for an indefinite period.

The Court of First Instance heard Leung Ching-han, 51, told psychiatrists she thought her mother was possessed by a ghost when she bludgeoned her to death with three hammers.

Mr Justice Michael McMahon handed down the hospital order after considering psychiatric reports which showed Leung suffered from serious mental illness.

She pleaded not guilty to murder and was found guilty by a jury of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, by a majority of five to two.

She killed her mother, Tsui Shuet-ching, at their home at Lok Man Sun Chuen, Hung Hom, on May 5, 2009, when her brother went out to seek medical advice about Leung's relapsed mental condition.

The court heard she stopped taking medicine two weeks before the killing. Three hammers with bloodstains were found by forensic scientists.

Leung, her brother Leung Kwok-choi and their mother all suffered from schizophrenia and lived under the same roof, the court heard.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Michael Arthur said Leung, a former civil servant, had been in and out of psychiatric centres and was discharged in early 2009.

He said the killing was a tragedy which took place when Leung's mental illness was particularly serious. He said Leung was now deeply regretful. Leung told the court: 'I regret deeply what I've done.

'My mother is my precious loved one and one of the most important persons to me. Losing her saddened me very much.'

She asked the judge to be lenient and allow her to return to the community as soon as possible.

But Mr Justice Michael McMahon said: 'I won't send you back in the community.'

During the trial, Leung's brother said he was concerned about his sister's condition and went to a psychiatric centre to seek a doctor's advice on the day of the killing.

A psychiatrist gave evidence that it was highly probable that Leung had been experiencing an auditory hallucination and a false belief that her mother had been trying to hurt her.

During a psychiatric examination, Leung said her mother scolded her before the killing. Her mother said she would be a 'demonic girl' in the next life and grabbed a hammer.

Leung said she believed her mother was going to hurt her.