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Last Updated: Friday, 13 July 2007, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Man who drowned sick son detained
A man who drowned his baby son in a bath after he became depressed about the child's debilitating illness has been detained in a mental hospital.

Andreas Milakovic fed his 14-month-old son Yacob a cocktail of medicine and red wine before holding him down in the bath of the family home in Sheffield.

Milakovic, 38, admitted manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility at Sheffield Crown Court.

His son suffered 40 fits in a day two days before he died, the court heard.

After killing his son Milakovic, who is deaf and cannot speak, tried to kill himself by drinking vodka and lying in the bath at the house on Warminster Road.

'My duty'

The court heard Milakovic had become severely depressed about his son's condition, West Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy in infants.

Yacob was blind, deaf and expected to grow up speech-impaired.

After being found alive by his partner, Sharon Hirschman, Milakovic told police he had wanted the child's "suffering to stop".

He told officers: "I wanted him to go to sleep. As a father I felt it was my duty to do something for my child.

"I couldn't watch these 20 to 30 fits at a time. It was awful."

Milakovic met Ms Hirschman, who is also deaf, at university. They both worked for Rotherham Borough Council as social workers, specialising in helping people with disabilities.

Gary Burrell QC, prosecuting, said Yacob was a "much loved and wanted child" but was diagnosed with West Syndrome in June 2006.

He was unable to sit up, hold his head up or swallow properly.

Later, his parents were told he was suffering from a rare degenerative brain illness which would "almost certainly have proved fatal in the long-run".

'Let down'

The court heard that Milakovic's own disability was a barrier to him getting help for his depression.

The judge, Mr Justice Holland, said he was making the hospital order because Milakovic was suffering from a "moderate to severe depressive episode aggravated by grief reaction."

He added: "I'm aware that the circumstances of this case are such as to raise for consideration debate as to euthanasia - mercy killing.

"I'm aware that there are those who passionately believe that such is justified.

"I'm aware that there are those who passionately believe in the sanctity of life and as such cannot be justified.

"None of that debate is a debate for me. I have to apply the law."

Outside court Milakovic's solicitor Sally Durham said the family believed they had been "let down by the lack of support available to them".

Det Insp Zaf Ali, from South Yorkshire Police, said he agreed with comments made in court that Milakovic did not pose a threat to the public and said he thought "justice had been done".

He added: "There are no winners in this situation."


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The court heard Andreas Milakovic had become depressed



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