English mother who drowned young twins in bath locked up for 10 years

English mother who drowned young twins in bath locked up for 10 years

A depressed mother who drowned her toddler twins in the bath out of “anger” at her estranged husband has been locked up for 10 years.

Samantha Ford, 38, killed her children Jake and Chloe on Boxing Day last year, after her split from their father Steven Ford a few months beforehand.

She then drove her Ford Galaxy at about 100mph into the back of a lorry, without a seatbelt on, in the early hours of December 27.

Steve Ford, father of Chloe and Jake Ford (Victoria Jones/PA)
Steve Ford, father of Chloe and Jake Ford (Victoria Jones/PA)

When police managed to open the doors of her vehicle, she told them: “I’ve killed my babies. Please let me die.

“I put them in the bath. We were meant to be together. I was going to jump off a cliff but it’s too dark.”

Police found the 23-month-old children, who were conceived by IVF, dead in their bedroom at her rented home in Castle Drive, Margate, Kent.

Ford denied murder but admitted two counts of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at a hearing in May.

Jake Ford (Family Handout/Kent Police/PA)
Jake Ford (Family Handout/Kent Police/PA)

Mr Justice Edis sentenced Ford to 10 years, to be served in a psychiatric unit until she is well enough to be transferred to prison.

The senior judge told the defendant: “The horror of what happened does not need any explanation by me.

“Anyone with any imagination can envisage for themselves what must have happened in that bathroom.

“It is unlikely that they died simultaneously and it must have taken some time and required some determination.”

Chloe Ford (Family Handout/Kent Police/PA)
Chloe Ford (Family Handout/Kent Police/PA)

“Your anger with your husband was a significant contributory factor.

“In deciding to kill your children and yourself, I am sure that you had thoughts of the effect this would have on Steven Ford, with whom all the psychiatrists say you were preoccupied

“You knew it would devastate him and I’m sure that is a reason why you did it.”

Earlier, prosecutor Tom Kark QC had told how the couple had lived in Qatar for the first 10 years of their marriage, but their relationship soured after they left their affluent lifestyle in the Middle East and moved to Charing in Kent in 2018.

Before their split, Ford had told her husband: “You have ripped my world apart, now we are nothing but a miserable, broken family growing up in a shit hole.”

Relatives said Ford’s mental health declined rapidly following the separation, and she sent multiple text messages to her estranged husband trying to persuade him to return to her, the court heard.

Ford, who was said to have been “controlling and aggressive” towards her husband in the past, pleaded with him saying: “I’m not a monster.”

She and the children moved to an address in Castle Drive, Margate, while Mr Ford remained in Charing.

Brenda Campbell QC, for Ford, said there had been 76 communications between Ford and mental health services in the weeks before the killings.

By Christmas, her family decided that her mental health was so poor that Mr Ford should take the twins and bring them back on Boxing Day, the court heard.

Ford drowned them later that evening, after her parents had left the house.

Psychiatrist Dr Philip Joseph told the court Ford had feelings of “anger and betrayal” towards her estranged husband and “wanted revenge” when she killed their children.

He found her mental function was impaired due to “moderate” depressive illness.

He cast doubt on her later claim that she heard voices, but said she may have had thoughts in her head “telling her the only way forward is to kill the children”.

But Professor Gillian Mezey said Ford would never have harmed her children if it were not for her illness.

She disagreed that Ford had acted out of “anger or aggressive outbursts”.

She added: “She was a good caring loving attentive mother by every account and her marriage to Steven Ford was also a rather successful one.”

She said Ford had told her of just one incident when she had hit her husband, many years ago.

In a victim impact statement read out at an earlier hearing, Mr Ford said he thought his children would have been “terrified, confused and that they suffered” in death.

He said: “This was the most heinous, spiteful act on two innocent children.

“I have no doubt [Ford] did this with the intention of taking her own life and punishing me in the process.”

He added: “I know how she behaves when things don’t go her way and when she doesn’t get what she wants.

“It’s an extreme version of her character because she couldn’t get her own way – knowing how much I loved the children she knew it would be the ultimate punishment for me not going back to her.”

Mitigating, Ms Campbell said Ford was a “bright and capable” woman who had been “destroyed” by her actions.

In a letter to the court Ford wrote that the loss of her children was “indescribable” and “physically and mentally hurts”.

Detective Chief Inspector Kaye Braybrook, of Kent Police, said: “This incident is so very tragic.

“Nothing will replace the killing of two innocent children but I hope that now the court proceedings have concluded, it will help bring some closure and assist the family in coping with the grief that they continue to suffer.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

Wales’ ‘most photographed building’ spoiled by misplaced road sign, owner saysWales’ ‘most photographed building’ spoiled by misplaced road sign, owner says

Illness doesn’t define you, says woman who achieved record-breaking Channel swimIllness doesn’t define you, says woman who achieved record-breaking Channel swim

Nursery paedophile Vanessa George released from UK prisonNursery paedophile Vanessa George released from UK prison

UK inflation slumps to lowest level since 2016UK inflation slumps to lowest level since 2016

More in this Section

Corbyn says he will put ‘sensible’ Brexit deal to voters in new referendumCorbyn says he will put ‘sensible’ Brexit deal to voters in new referendum

New poll on independence published five years on from Scottish referendumNew poll on independence published five years on from Scottish referendum

Sacha Baron Cohen asks judge to dismiss Roy Moore lawsuitSacha Baron Cohen asks judge to dismiss Roy Moore lawsuit

Israel exit poll suggests Netanyahu has failed to win majorityIsrael exit poll suggests Netanyahu has failed to win majority


Lifestyle

Angela’s Ashes: The Musical at Cork Opera House brings some belly-laughs to Frank McCourt's tale, writes Marjorie Brennan.Perfect blend of belly laughs and emotion at Angela's Ashes: The Musical

In Currabinny, there is a large house right at the cliff’s edge, overlooking the whole of Cork Harbour.The Currabinny chefs cook with pears

It’s normal for children to occasionally worry but anxiety in a young person can develop into a crippling daily occurrence if it is not properly managed, writes Karen Murray.'Anxiety is a normal part of life': Understanding is key to helping children manage anxiety

This season textiles trend large, full of colour and exotic pattern, and applied in new ways to make a personal design statement from the living room to the bedroom, writes Carol O’CallaghanTextile trends that can help you make a personal design statement

More From The Irish Examiner