PROVINCE OF UTRECHT –
The 41-year-old Patricia M. does not know why in May of this year she threw her 2-year-old daughter out of the window of her apartment in Utrecht and then went after it herself. That is what she declared in court today. Because the woman was in psychosis during her act, the Public Prosecutor asked the court to have her admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
Daughter Beatrice stopped the fall of the third floor of the flat in the Utrecht Overvecht district with a broken upper leg, a swelling on the side of her head and a collapsed lung. The recovery took about a month. The daughter is currently being cared for by her family. The suspect herself got worse off: she broke her thigh in several places and ended with some broken vertebrae. This requires eight months of recovery time.
One witness saw the woman sitting in the window frame with her child a few days before the jump. She said, according to the witness, that she was being chased by dark men. The suspect recalls that moment differently: according to her, she was in the window opening because she had no reach with her mobile phone. According to her, she needed it because she had seen a suspicious person at the flat.
"I THINK I AM HALLUCINATING"
A few days later, another witness saw the woman jump out of the window. The witness ran to the spot under the flat and suddenly saw a child lying in the bushes. The suspect stated that she wanted to save her child from bad people. "I think I am hallucinating," she would have said.
HUSBAND SAT TV WATCHES
When the woman jumped, her husband was home. He sat watching TV in the living room and saw the woman jumping. The man does not demand compensation from the suspect. He still has a relationship with the woman and also helps her. "I get a lot of support", says Patricia M., "My family and my husband help me enormously."
A psychiatrist and a psychologist examined the woman. The psychiatrist thinks she is suffering from a psychotic disorder. According to him, it is possible to schizophrenia. The psychologist also sees depressive symptoms. Both experts agree that the woman was infeasible during the drama. The suspect agreed: "I myself can not think of a rational reason why this happened."
CHANCE ON REPEAT
The experts think that there is a chance that the woman will do something so extreme again. According to them it is an intelligent woman, and her environment is very shocked, but when she is exhausted, a psychosis may develop again. When the suspect heard this, she burst into tears in the courtroom today and declared she would like to be treated.
The public prosecutor thinks that it is proven that M. tried to kill her daughter. That is attempted manslaughter. But because the woman was insensible, justice finds it especially important that she is helped: "It is important that the suspect is treated through behavioral therapy and with medication." That is why the Public Prosecution Service asked the court to have the suspect admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
The defendant's lawyer did not agree with the Public Prosecution Service in parts: "A jump from the third floor is not automatically an attempted manslaughter, my client has deliberately jumped into the bushes." She therefore demanded that Patricia M. be acquitted of attempted manslaughter.
The lawyer agreed with the PPS that the woman should be treated in a psychiatric hospital "for the maximum duration of 1 year". She also asked for a quick decision from the court, so that this treatment could start as soon as possible.
The court immediately withdrew after the last request from the lawyer to discuss whether a decision could be made more quickly. That was possible: the verdict is expected in a week.
Images from around the flat shortly after the drama in Overvecht
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