Custody battle mother jailed for killing 3 children

A MOTHER who stabbed her three young children to death after fearing she would lose them in a bitter custody battle was jailed for 16 years yesterday.

Theresa Riggi, 47, killed her eight-year-old twins Austin and Luke and her five-year-old daughter Cecilia at their Edinburgh home last August.

The youngsters’ bloodstained bodies were discovered lying side by side at the Slateford Road townhouse following a gas explosion at the building, each with eight stab wounds and multiple abrasions and bruises.

American Riggi was found injured after plunging from a second-floor balcony in an apparent suicide bid. She also had stab wounds which were believed to have been self-inflicted.

She was initially charged with murder but last month admitted three counts of the lesser charge of culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

She was sentenced yesterday at the High Court in Glasgow after Donald Findlay QC spent more than two hours delivering a plea of mitigation on her behalf.

Lord Bracadale, on sentencing, said: “You have pled guilty to charges of repeatedly stabbing to death each of your twin sons, Austin and Luke, aged nine years, and your daughter Cecilia, aged five years.

“The result of these acts is a devastating family tragedy. The father of the children, Pasquale Riggi, and the wider family have been left utterly bereft by the loss of the children.

“And you, who had a genuine but abnormal and possessive love of your children, have lost them and are brought to this sorry pass.”

He added: “You, and others, must understand that while your responsibility is diminished, you are still responsible for your actions.”

The court had heard Riggi accused her husband of being in collusion with their solicitors and asked if he would take the children away.

On being told she “left him no choice”, Riggi replied “say goodbye then” and hung up.

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