Page last updated at 21:08 GMT, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Mother 'tried to kill brain-damaged son before'

Frances Inglis
Frances Inglis is alleged to have killed her son at his Hertfordshire care home

A mother on trial for the murder of her brain-damaged son had tried to kill him before, London's Old Bailey has heard.

Thomas Inglis, 22, suffered "extremely serious" head injuries when he fell out the back of an ambulance in 2007.

Frances Inglis, 57, of Dagenham, is accused of killing him in a care home in Hertfordshire in November 2008.

Ms Inglis was on bail for his attempted murder when she allegedly carried out the attack. She denies both the murder and attempted murder of Mr Inglis.

Miranda Moore QC, prosecuting, told the court Mr Inglis was not in a persistent vegetative state and that he was making progress.

Jurors were told Ms Inglis had been training as a nurse when she first allegedly tried to kill him on 4 September, 2007.

HIV claim

A nurse at the hospital where Mr Inglis was being treated noticed he had "turned a strange colour", and his heart stopped for several minutes, the court was told.

That is not a defence to murder. You are not entitled to terminate somebody's life in this way
Miranda Moore QC

Jurors heard Ms Inglis was accused of using heroin to attempt to kill him and was granted bail on condition that she was not to contact her son.

Mr Inglis was then moved to the Gardens nursing home in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire.

But on 11 November, 2008 Ms Inglis visited, pretending to be her sister and signing in with the name Atkins, jurors were told.

Miss Moore said when a nurse went to Mr Inglis's room she found his mother, who told her she had HIV and threatened to spit at her before shutting the door.

'Terminate life'

The nurse went for help to get into the room but when she reached the patient it was clear he was dead, the court heard.

Frances Inglis
The court heard Ms Inglis told police she had injected her son with heroin

Miss Moore said Ms Inglis told the nurse: "Don't resuscitate because I've done him already. He is at peace."

The prosecutor added: "When she realised he was dead, she collapsed into a chair.

"She thought he was suffering, that is why she did what she did.

"That is not a defence to murder. You are not entitled to terminate somebody's life in this way."

The court heard Ms Inglis told a police officer she had injected her son in his thigh and in his arms with heroin, and when asked how much said "10 parcels".

The trial continues.

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