Frustrated Father Charged With Killing Son, 10
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 28, 2004
WORTHING, ENGLAND--The father of a 10-year-old boy with disabilities had been charged with his son's apparent suffocation death, several British news sources have reported.
Andy Wragg, 36, was charged Tuesday with the death of his son, Jacob, who had Hunter syndrome.
According to the National Institutes of Health, Hunter syndrome is a hereditary condition in which the person's body cannot process certain chemicals. Children that have Hunter syndrome usually experience a number of physical and mental disabilities, and often die before age 20.
Mr. Wragg recently returned home from his job as a security officer in Iraq. From then until the first of last week, Jacob was with caregivers so the family could have some respite time without him.
Wragg reportedly told a friend over a drink on Saturday that he was frustrated that his son no longer acknowledged or recognized him.
Later that day, Wragg decided to stay home with Jacob while his wife, Mary, went to her mother's house with their younger son.
Police claim that Mr. Wragg then suffocated Jacob with a pillow, and called his wife to tell her that the boy had died.
On his way to the police station, Wragg allegedly said of his son: "He is at peace now. I loved him so much. He has a terminal illness -- don't judge me until you know the facts."
Police were not yet willing to assign a motive to Jacob's murder. Both the prosecutor and defense attorney called the case "tragic".
Mrs. Wragg was arrested with her husband, but was later released without being charged.
The couple have been active in campaigns to raise awareness of Hunter syndrome along with funds for other families whose children have the condition.
Jacob's death may be reminiscent of other cases of "altruistic filicide", the killing of a child -- usually one with disabilities -- out of a belief that the death is in the child's best interest.
As is often the case with such "mercy-killings", articles by British tabloid newspapers The Sun and The Mirror clearly sympathized with the alleged murderer. Mr. Wragg was described as a "tragic dad" who was "tormented" by his son's disability.
"Father in handcuffs as he is remanded over death of terminally ill Jacob" (The Telegraph)
"Why is tragic dad in cuffs?" (The Sun)
Hunter Syndrome (MedlinePlus -- National Institutes of Health/National Library of Medicine)