Page last updated at 20:42 GMT, Monday, 5 October 2009 21:42 UK

Son murder accused wrote of grief

Ryan Manser
Ryan Manser was smothered in April 2007

A woman accused of murdering her four-year-old son was found dead in a mental health unit days after describing her grief in a letter, an inquest heard.

Emma Manser, 24, of Exeter, was found hanged at The Dene, in Hassocks, West Sussex, on 17 July 2008.

She had been charged with murdering her son Ryan and attempting to kill her mother at her home in April 2007.

An inquest at Haywards Heath Magistrates' Court heard Ms Manser had been undergoing psychiatric assessment.

Two days before her death, her father's partner received a card from Ms Manser which expressed her sense of loss and grief.

I hate what I've done to Ryan, to myself and everyone who loved him, but I can't turn back the clock
Letter from Emma Manser

Ms Manser wrote: "I'm missing Ryan more and more all the time.

"Every morning is a constant reminder of what I've done and why I'm here. I just can't let it sink in what I've done.

She added: "I hate what I've done to Ryan, to myself and everyone who loved him, but I can't turn back the clock."

Ms Manser was accused of smothering Ryan and stabbing her mother Wendy Richards at her home in Stoke Hill.

Her father, Robert Manser, from Taunton, said his daughter was an intelligent, "happy-go-lucky" girl, but she had signs of psychiatric problems aged 14 when she overdosed on tablets.

'Very psychotic'

Mr Manser said he was convinced she would commit suicide after being charged with the murder of her son, whom he said she loved.

Dr Somasekhara Omkar, a consultant forensic psychiatrist at The Dene, said her history included episodes of believing she was the Messiah.

She was "very psychotic" at times and could be aggressive, he said, but at other times she would be tearful about her son or be in denial about his death.

On the day of her death, when a meeting was held with Ms Manser and staff from The Dene, her condition was said to be steady.

The inquest was adjourned until Tuesday.

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