Wragg Was Stressed From War When He Killed His Son, Jury
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 10, 2005
WORTHING, ENGLAND--Andrew Wragg, the man who admitted killing his 10-year-old son because of his disabilities, was experiencing stress related in part to his work as a security officer in Iraq, a British court heard Wednesday.
Dr. Nicholas Wright, a psychiatric consultant, told Lewes Crown Court that Wragg was depressed and experiencing an "abnormality of the mind" when he killed Jacob on July 24 of last year.
"It's what's called a reaction to severe stress, an adjustment disorder, it's not dissimilar to post-traumatic stress disorder. But there are additional stresses that cause a person to crack up and be irresponsible about their actions."
The court heard that Wragg returned from Iraq to discover that his son no longer recognized him. The day of Jacob's death, Mr. Wragg reportedly told a friend that he could no longer tolerate his son's condition.
Wragg said he spent several minutes that day with the boy -- who was deaf, could not talk, and had Hunter syndrome -- before deciding to use a pillow to suffocate him. Children that have Hunter syndrome usually experience mental and physical disabilities and often die before age 20.
"He had this delusional idea that this was what Jacob wanted," Dr. Wright said of Wragg.
"There was this business of him looking into Jacob's eyes and somehow seeing that Jacob wanted him to do something," Wright explained. "It was clearly irrational because from Jacob's state he would be unable to communicate that."
Mr. Wragg testified on Tuesday that he and his wife made a pact to kill the boy, a claim that Mrs. Wragg has denied. Wragg said he could not have killed Jacob without her approval and that when he told her he planned to kill the child that night, she asked, "Why wait?"
Mr. Wragg is charged with murder, but is claiming manslaughter based on diminished capacity.
The trial was adjourned until Monday.
Jacob's death may be a case of "altruistic filicide", when a parent kills a child -- usually one with disabilities -- claiming the death is in the child's best interest.