Mum 'killed children, 7 and 11, because she didn't want husband to have them' (2024)

A mum who suspected her husband of having an affair killed her two children because she didn’t want him to gain custody of them, a jury has been told.

Veronique John, 50, allegedly stabbed her son Ethan, 11, more than 20 times and inflicted brain damage on her seven-year-old daughter Elizabeth before finding her husband Nathan at a car wash and stabbing him in the stomach.

She then reportedly returned to her home in Stoke-on-Trent, called 999 and said ‘I am calling to report I just killed my two kids’ on June 11 of last year.

A trial-of-facts hearing is currently underway at Nottingham crown court because John has been found to be ‘under a disability’ and ‘unable to participate in the trial in any meaningful sense’, judge Mr Justice Choudhury explained to the jury.

John, a charity shop worker, allegedly told police when they arrived at her home: ‘If you have a gun shoot me. I am not a monster – he was going to take them from me.’

She’s also accused of telling interviewing officers later on: ‘I didn’t want my husband to get them.

‘It’s something I was thinking about for a long time – just kill myself and the kids. Unless you guys are offering me the death penalty I have nothing else to say.

‘I did it because I love my children – to protect the children. If there’s any possible way I could be put to death, I would like that. I mean it 100%.’

John was born on the Caribbean island of St Vincent and prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith said she had searched online ‘Can a foreigner be charged with murder in the UK?’ just hours before she killed her children.

Mr Grieves-Smith said her ‘rage was boiling just under the surface’ a day after she had been arrested for assaulting her husband with a piece of wood.

John and her husband had experienced serious relationship difficulties, with her not wanting him to have an internet-enabled phone.

Two days before the attacks, the jury was told John became angry and hit her husband with a wooden slat while their children were getting ready for bed.

Mr John made a complaint to police, who arrested John at her home on June 10 and interviewed her under caution, opting to issue her with a community resolution notice.

Shortly after 2pm on June 11, John went to the car wash where her husband had stayed the night and stabbed him in the stomach, the court heard.

Recounting what Mr John said in a subsequent 999 call, Mr Grieves-Smith said: ‘My wife just came to the car wash and stabbed me – she said that she had just killed the kids.’

Mr Grieves-Smith added: “What happened on the 11th of June didn’t come out of the blue. Tension grew in the days before. That day she just erupted, killed her children and attacked Nathan.’

Ethan was pronounced dead after being found in a bedroom with a 17cm-long neck wound, while Elizabeth was discovered in the living room, having suffered head trauma and ‘three areas of sharp force’ injury, including to her stomach.

A few minutes before John walked to the car wash, the jury was told a neighbour heard ‘high-pitched screaming and crying that lasted for a little while’.

John, of Flax Street, Stoke, is charged with two counts of murder, attempted murder and an alternative count of wounding, but has been ruled unfit to plead.

The 50-year-old, who is being treated at a secure hospital, was not in the dock to hear the Crown’s opening speech.

Judge Justice Choudhury told the jury: ‘This trial is slightly unusual – the defendant has been found to be under a disability.

‘She is unable to participate in the trial in any meaningful sense.

‘Your task is to decide whether the defendant did the acts of unlawfully inflicting injuries on and killing Ethan and Elizabeth which led to their deaths, and unlawfully inflicting injuries to Mr John.’

The trial continues.

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Mum 'killed children, 7 and 11, because she didn't want husband to have them' (2024)
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