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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 July 2006, 19:07 GMT 20:07 UK
US woman cleared of child murders
Andrea Yates with lawyer George Parnham after hearing verdict
Andrea Yates' defence of insanity was accepted by the jury
A US woman has been cleared by reason of insanity of murdering her five children by drowning them in the bath.

Texan Andrea Yates admitted killing the children - aged between six months and seven years old - but denied murder on the grounds of mental illness.

The verdict means Ms Yates will be sent to a state mental hospital until she is considered sane enough to be released.

Ms Yates was jailed for life after an earlier trial, but a retrial was ordered because of flawed testimony.

The children - baby Mary, two-year-old Luke, three-year-old Paul, five-year-old John and seven-year-old Noah - were drowned one by one at their Houston home.

'Going to hell'

Lawyers for Ms Yates argued that she had been suffering from severe post-natal depression, and had believed she was saving the children from going to hell.

Prosecutors insisted she had still known right from wrong, and was therefore guilty of murder.

Ms Yates' ex-husband, Rusty Yates, said he agreed with the jury's decision, the Associated Press news agency reported.

"Yes, Andrea took the lives of our children, that's the truth, but also yes, she was insane," Mr Yates told reporters outside the court, AP said.

Mr Yates had been at work at Nasa's Johnson Space Center when the killings took place.

In the first trial, prosecutors had sought a death sentence for Ms Yates, but the jury decided on life imprisonment.

The jury at the second trial, consisting of six men and six women, had considered its verdict for 12 hours over three days before reaching a decision.

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