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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 15:14 GMT
Son's death was 'mercy killing'
Andrew Wragg arrives at Chichester Crown Court
Mr Wragg denies murdering his terminally ill son Jacob
A father who admitted smothering his terminally ill son told police it was a "mercy killing", a court has heard.

Andrew Wragg denies murdering Jacob, 10, who had the degenerative condition Hunter Syndrome, on 24 July last year at their home in Worthing, West Sussex.

Lewes Crown Court heard Mr Wragg, 37, claims he committed manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

"The issue for you is Mr Wragg's mental state at the time," the jury in the continuing trial was told.

Philip Katz, prosecuting, told the nine women and three men that Mr Wragg's emotions at the time of the killing were not justification for murder.

He said Jacob would have died young from his illness but that he was not at "death's door".

He was not in hospital at the time of his death and a few days before had been enjoying respite care.

Dialled 999

"A mercy killing is no defence for murder," Mr Katz said.

He said that while Mr Wragg may have been feeling disappointment, sadness, loss, fear and anger, which may have been reasonable and understandable in the circumstances, they were not a mental illness.

The jury was told that Mr Wragg dialled 999 from the house in Henty Close and told an operator that he had murdered his son by putting a pillow over his face.

Earlier that day Mr Wragg had been out drinking and rang to speak to his wife.

"He said that he was going to take Jacob away and implied that he was going to kill him," said Mr Katz.

A few hours later Mr Wragg called his wife again and asked her to take their other son, George, out of the house.

Pillow suffocation

She took George to her mother's and on the way the defendant rang and said, "I've done it".

When she returned home her husband was by Jacob's bed cuddling him, Mr Katz said.

He told the jury a post-mortem examination found Jacob died of asphyxiation consistent with pillow suffocation.

Mr Katz said Mr Wragg was over three-and-a-half times the legal limit for driving at the time of the killing.

The case continues.

Hear Andrew Wragg say why he killed his son

Father charged with son's murder
27 Jul 04 |  England

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