London - A mother drowned her twin toddlers in the bath as ‘the ultimate punishment’ for her husband when they separated and lost their ‘perfect life’ in Qatar, a court heard on Friday.
Samantha Ford, 38, killed 23-month-old twins Jake and Chloe after struggling to cope following the split from her husband Steven.
Ford had a breakdown after the family left behind their affluent lifestyle in the Middle East last year, where they had lived for ten years while Mr Ford worked as a top-level golfer.
They split shortly after returning to England with Ford telling her husband their children would grow up in a ‘miserable cold country’ and that they were ‘destined to be a miserable family living in a s**thole’.
Her family had already raised concerns about her mental wellbeing and suggested that Mr Ford should look after the children over Christmas.
But the father then decided otherwise, saying that ‘no mother should be without their children at Christmas,’ the Old Bailey heard.
However, on Boxing Day she drowned the children at her rented home near Margate, Kent, then attempted to take her own life hours later by driving her Ford Galaxy into the rear of a lorry at 100mph.
She was initially charged with murder but a plea to manslaughter by diminished responsibility was accepted in May after the court heard her mental health declined rapidly following the break-up.
Prosecutor Tom Kark QC said Ford ‘blamed her estranged husband for dragging the family back from Qatar’. In a victim impact statement, Mr Ford said he thought his children would have been ‘terrified, confused and that they suffered’ in death.
He said: ‘This was the most heinous, spiteful act on two innocent children. I have no doubt she did this with the intention of taking her own life and punishing me in the process.
‘It’s an extreme version of her character because she couldn’t get her own way – knowing how much I loved the children she knew it would be the ultimate punishment for me not going back to her.’
In the early hours of December 27 police attended the scene of a crash on the London-bound carriageway of the A299. When they managed to open the doors of Ford’s car, she told them: ‘I’ve killed my babies.
‘Please let me die. I put them in the bath. We were meant to be together. I was going to jump off a cliff but it’s too dark.’
While she was taken to hospital, police attended the address she was renting in Margate, where they found the two toddlers in their bedroom in nappies and clean, dry baby grows, but they were already dead. The couple, who met in 2004, moved to Qatar in 2008 and spent most of their ten-year marriage living there where she gave birth to the twins following IVF treatment.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr Muzaffar Hussain said: ‘What [Ford] is most regretful about is losing that perfect life, a perfect life with Steve in Qatar. A perfect life with her miracle children. The perfect house. It’s the loss of that that she grieves.’ Ford will be sentenced next month.