Second Murder Trial Begins For Father Who Admitted Killing
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 29, 2005
EAST SUSSEX, ENGLAND--Testimony began Monday in the second murder trial of Andrew Wragg, who admitted killing his 10-year-old son because of his disabilities.
Wragg, 38, confessed to police that he smothered Jacob to death with a pillow on the evening of July 24, 2004. He claimed it was a "mercy killing" to keep the boy from suffering from Hunter syndrome. Children who have Hunter syndrome experience mental and physical disabilities and seldom live past age 20.
A military security specialist, Wragg also claimed that he was under stress after returning from the Iraq war. He has pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished capacity.
Jurors in Lewes Crown Court heard Monday that Wragg told police at the time of his arrest: "My son wanted me to do it because he has a terminal illness . . . I loved him so much and now I have got to stand up in court and say I put a pillow over his head."
Prosecutor Philip Katz QC told the court that even though Jacob was blind, could not speak, and walked only on his tiptoes at the time of his death, he was not "terminally ill in the sense that he was at death's door."
"In any event, mercy killing is no defense to murder. It is still murder."
Prosecutors claim that Wragg plotted to end Jacob's life because he was frustrated that the child no longer recognized him.
"It was Mr. Wragg's own perceived way out of a situation he found too difficult to cope with," Katz said.
Jacob's mother, Mary Wragg, who was the boy's primary caregiver, testified Tuesday that her son was not suffering. In fact, on the day of his death he had enjoyed a family outing at a fair, she explained.
"He was happy and giggly and clapping his hands," she said. "He was jolly."
Mrs. Wragg said that later that night, Mr. Wragg told her to take their other son to her mother's house. While she was gone, he called and told her, 'I've done it, I've killed him', referring to Jacob.
When she returned to the home, she told the court, her husband raised a glass to toast Jacob, saying he was now "at peace".
Jacob's death is one of many cases of "altruistic filicide", in which a parent kills a child -- often one with disabilities -- claiming the death is "for the child's own good".
The trial continues this week. The first trial in March deadlocked after 11 days of testimony and 11 hours of deliberation.
"Father 'knelt over child's body'"(BBC News)
"Father 'terminated' his disabled son, court told" (The Times)
"Terminally-ill boy 'was happy' before killing" (The Daily Mail)
"Jacob Wragg: Dad Admitted Killing Son Because of His Disability" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)