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Dawes Says Dead Son Forgives Her
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 16, 2004

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA--Daniela Dawes, who was convicted of manslaughter in June over the death of her 10-year-old son, said last week that she believes he forgives her.

Dawes, 39, had originally been charged with murder after she confessed to deliberately suffocating Jason, who had autism, by holding his mouth and nose closed on August 4, 2003 until he died. She claimed that the incident happened when he disrupted her efforts to get him ready for school.

She has maintained, however, that her depression, not her son's disability, was her motive. Her defense attorneys have argued that she killed Jason after the stress of taking care of him became too much for her to handle.

Dawes was given a five-year good behavior bond, similar to probation, with no prison time. On November 4, an appeal court rejected an appeal by prosecutors to have her serve some time behind bars for the crime.

In a story published by the Sunday Times, Dawes said she believed the prosecutors' appeal came in response to a change in public attitudes toward her after she signed a deal with a tabloid news program and magazine following her conviction.

While she has maintained that she did not plan to kill her son, she told the Sunday Times she did it because she loved him.

"Taking a life is a big thing but it was not premeditated. It came from a position of love," she said.

"I can feel Jason all around me and there's no sense of anger," she explained. "I know that he knows it wasn't something I did because I didn't want him around."

Jason Dawes' death is similar to many other high-profile cases in which children with disabilities have been killed by their parents. Parents who kill such children are often treated with sympathy and are given reduced sentences.

Craig Dawes has separated from his wife and is currently engaged in a dispute with her over their teenage daughter's custody.

After the appeals court rejected prosecutors' bid for a stronger sentence, Mr. Dawes called the decision "an atrocity for disabled Australians".

"Killer mum: Jason has forgiven me" (Sunday Times)


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