Page last updated at 19:01 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 20:01 UK

Son drowned by debt-ridden mother

James Taylor
James Taylor's body was discovered at the house in New Ash Green

A mother who drowned her 11-year-old son at their home in Kent had debts of nearly £290,000, a court has heard.

James Taylor's body was found at the house in Knights Croft, New Ash Green, near Dartford, on 2 December last year.

Maidstone Crown Court heard three psychiatric reports had concluded that Jennifer Taylor, 45, had been suffering from a serious depressive illness.

She will be sentenced on Friday after admitting in June manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

'A better place'

The court was told on Thursday that Taylor was a single mother who had adored her son and had tried to take good care of him throughout his life.

However, she struggled financially and fell deeply into debt, which proved to be the key to her depression.

The court heard Taylor had called the emergency services at 0530 GMT on 2 December, saying she had stabbed herself and drowned her son in the bath two days earlier.

Police and paramedics arrived to find James lying in a foetal position in the bath with his head submerged in the water.

Taylor was discovered lying in a conservatory in bloodstained clothes with multiple stab wounds to her body, which had been self-inflicted.

She was said to have told paramedics she had wanted the two of them to die so they could "be in a better place".

The court heard that by the time of her son's death, she had just £360 available in her current bank account despite receiving £1,000 a month in child maintenance from James' father, who lived in Abu Dhabi.

He had also transferred $25,000 into her account in May.

It was also told that in the months leading up to her son's death, she had searched on the internet for items referring to "suicide through debt," "taking a child through suicide," and "drowning as my heart keeps pounding".

Sentencing was adjourned until Friday.


Jennifer Taylor was suffering from a serious depressive illness when her son died

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