Christy’s family in TV doc
THE brother and sister of tragic Melanie Ruddell appeared in a TV documentary describing the events leading up to the killing of her son Christy.
Melanie’s siblings, Neil Close and Julie Stout, asked questions as to why their sister, who walked into Peterlee Police Station carrying her two-year-old son’s lifeless body after strangling him in August 2010, never got the mental health support she needed.
They also talked about how they felt that Christy’s death could have been prevented.
The documentary, called I Took My Baby’s Life and shown on ITV1 on July 9, featured extracts from Melanie’s diary as well as interviews with her friends and John Ruddell, father of Melanie’s estranged husband Alan.
Medics at the University Hospital of Hartlepool had told Melanie, 40, she was suffering from acute psychosis, after her friends and family described her strange behaviour, which included false claims that she had been assaulted and accusations she had harmed her boy which she said were made against her.
She claimed she felt better after he told her it could be several hours before a crisis team could carry out a full mental health assessment.
She then discharged herself to go to her brother’s home, near Durham City, where she strangled Christy.
Julie spoke of her sister’s devotion to Christy and of visiting her in hospital.
She said: “She knew what she’d done, but she also believed that he was coming back.
“She said she had some magic words, she just needed to remember where she’d put them.
“And you don’t know what’s sadder. The fact that he’s never coming back or the fact that she thinks he is.”
The documentary also focussed on events that may have contributed to the Castle Eden mum’s breakdown, including the break-up of her marriage and the death of her father.
Melanie pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Newcastle Crown Court and continues to receive treatment at a secure facility.
At an inquest into Christy’s death, held in May, Sunderland coroner Derek Winter recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.
He has since written to the Secretary of State for Health to recommend mental health awareness training for medical staff and to stress the important part loved ones play in such situations.
An Independent Police Complaints Commission inquiry said Northumbria and Durham Police acted appropriately when dealing with Melanie prior to the attack.
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Weather for Peterlee
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North