Soldier-father in court over claims he smothered son

#1
A mother told a court yesterday how she had been playing happily with her terminally ill son before his father smothered him with a pillow.

Andrew Wragg, 37, said he killed his 10-year-old son Jacob out of love. However his mother Mary, 41, gave a moving account of her son's final hours.

While her husband was frequently absent, drinking heavily, and planning a holiday by himself, she was left to cope with her son's illness, a degenerative condition known as Hunter Syndrome.

Mrs Wragg said her attitude was “to get on with caring for Jacob and to make the most of what we had”.

Giving evidence at her husband's trial she told of her “pride” when Jacob reached his tenth birthday after medical experts had warned her he could die as early as eight.

Wragg, a former soldier attached to the SAS, had spoken on several occasions of smothering his son with a pillow. He had shown himself incapable of any lasting commitment in caring for Jacob, a jury at Lewes Crown Court, East Sussex, was told.

On what was to be his last day alive last July, she took him to the beach near the family home in Worthing, West Sussex, where he had been “happy and lively”.

Mrs Wragg, articulate and well-spoken, gave evidence for the prosecution with several keepsakes in front of her as reminders of her son. She stood in the witness box, at times close to tears, clutching a dummy and with several pictures of Jacob spread out before her.

On the lapel of her trouser suit jacket she had what appeared to be several strands of his hair attached to a blue ribbon.

The court has heard that Wragg persuaded his wife to leave their bungalow where he then let himself in and smothered Jacob as he slept.

Mrs Wragg told Philip Katz, QC, prosecuting, that she had taken Jacob and her seven-year-old son George to a funfair after her husband went out drinking.

She said Jacob had been strong. “He was able to take into account what he did and wanted to do,” she said. “He chose his own lunch at the fair through a mixture of lip-reading and signage.”

In the house he had been “running between the kitchen and the bedroom in the morning, stealing biscuits from the biscuit barrel. He was active and strong. He was happy. He was just Jacob.”

She said that after her son was diagnosed with the genetic illness her husband was frequently absent. They separated several times over the years, but she had let her husband back after he had promised to take a more active role in caring for Jacob.

Mrs Wragg said that when Jacob was in hospital in Manchester, she and her husband were talking to the mother of another sick child. “I remember Andy saying that if he thought Jacob was suffering he would put a pillow over his face.

“I felt it was something he said to deal with the difficulty of the situation and the fact that he felt powerless to be able to provide an answer or a solution to the problem,” she said.

Jacob was born in November 1993, when Wragg was undergoing SAS training in Hereford. The boy developed regular coughs and colds and after undergoing tests he was diagnosed with Hunter Syndrome.

She was told that her son would become deaf, dumb and blind, would suffer from respiratory problems and stiffness of the joints, and would eventually die.

At the time of the diagnosis Mrs Wragg was seven months pregnant and was advised to have a termination. Wragg left the Army and took a job in Northampton, living apart from his wife who was regularly driving to the Manchester Children's Hospital where Jacob had appointments.

Her husband rarely accompanied her and when he did he had arguments with medical staff. “He just disliked hospitals and ill people. He chose not to come.”

He would visit her at her home “when it suited him”, she said. “I was always Jacob's main carer.” Wragg denies murder but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The trial continues.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...cob02.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/03/02/ixhome.html

This is a really sad case. The poor boy had a horrific genetic conditon that wasnt going to get any better and it appears that tha father didnt want the son to suffer any longer. I dont know who to feel sorry for on this one. :cry:

any thoughts?
 
#3
Me and her indoor's agree that if either of us get to the point of " a vegatative state" it's time to help each other "out".

We can never know what happens in these sad situation, or feel what the poor family feel. It's very sad and tragic.
 
#5
I just cannot believe that his wife is giving evidence against him!!! I suspect that, not ever having been in such a terrible situation, we can never understand the mixed loyalties & emotions involved.
 
#6
he killed her son and maybe she'd have rathered that he didn't. I understand where he was coming from on it, but he must have realised that there would be consequences.
Also, it sounds like it was motivated almost as much by the man's own selfishness as by compassion for his child.
the times said:
He listened intently from the dock as Mrs Wragg portrayed him as a neglectful, heavy-drinking father who flitted in and out of the family’s life and found his son’s condition embarrassing.
Soldier said he would kill dying son, wife tells court
 
#7
growler said:
I just cannot believe that his wife is giving evidence against him!!! I suspect that, not ever having been in such a terrible situation, we can never understand the mixed loyalties & emotions involved.

When I watched the news yesterday they actually said that as soon as he comitted the act he telephoned his wife who returned home, where she found her crying husband craddling their son in his arms. They then proceeded to drink wine together and toast their sons life.

As mentioned previously we all hopefully will never be faced with these emotions, but I feel that this was'nt an action by a parent with any malice intended, more by someone whom could'nt stand watching someone they loved suffering.
 
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#8
jonah420 said:
As mentioned previously we all hopefully will never be faced with these emotions, but I feel that this was'nt an action by a parent with any malice intended, more by someone whom could'nt stand watching someone they loved suffering.
How could you possibly know? We would all be better off waiting for the evidence to be presented to the jury rather than speculating on the basis of a single newspaper report.
 
#9
chickenpunk said:
How could you possibly know? We would all be better off waiting for the evidence to be presented to the jury rather than speculating on the basis of a single newspaper report.

Fair one chickenpunk ....... just giving my personal view, never meant to offend any other user.

Soz ...... :oops:
 
#10
chickenpunk said:
jonah420 said:
As mentioned previously we all hopefully will never be faced with these emotions, but I feel that this was'nt an action by a parent with any malice intended, more by someone whom could'nt stand watching someone they loved suffering.
How could you possibly know? We would all be better off waiting for the evidence to be presented to the jury rather than speculating on the basis of a single newspaper report.

This tragic event was reported not longer after I met this guy who was on a CP course with the ex b/f. Lets hope none of us are ever put into a similar situation where such a traumatic and heart wrenching decision has to be made to end a loved ones life, be it through compassion and to prevent further suffering or through their own selfishness.

Very sad :cry:
 
#11
Yes, it's very tragic - but to be brutally frank the father sounds like he did his best not to be around when all the hard work was required so I question how much he was really affected by the sheer hard physical graft of coping with a badly disabled child. It sounds very much like he left his wife to bear most of that particular burden while he drowned his sorrows in the pub.

Good job that little boy's mother didn't take a similar view to the one his father took.

If anyone had the right to play God in that house I suggest it was the mother who cared for the boy day and night, as well as their other son - not the father who seems to have been away pretty much on a permanent basis.
 
#12
Prodigal said:
Yes, it's very tragic - but to be brutally frank the father sounds like he did his best not to be around when all the hard work was required so I question how much he was really affected by the sheer hard physical graft of coping with a badly disabled child. It sounds very much like he left his wife to bear most of that particular burden while he drowned his sorrows in the pub.

Good job that little boy's mother didn't take a similar view to the one his father took.

If anyone had the right to play God in that house I suggest it was the mother who cared for the boy day and night, as well as their other son - not the father who seems to have been away pretty much on a permanent basis.
I dont think we should rush to judge the father on his actions. Some of us are better at coping with stuff like this than others. Maybe he just couldnt cope with seeing his son be in such suffering. Maybe the wife was far better at it than the husband. Lets not rush to judge him. we dont know how we would deal with it until we have to.

A_S
 
#13
Toonie said:
chickenpunk said:
jonah420 said:
As mentioned previously we all hopefully will never be faced with these emotions, but I feel that this was'nt an action by a parent with any malice intended, more by someone whom could'nt stand watching someone they loved suffering.

How could you possibly know? We would all be better off waiting for the evidence to be presented to the jury rather than speculating on the basis of a single newspaper report.


This tragic event was reported not longer after I met this guy who was on a CP course with the ex b/f. Lets hope none of us are ever put into a similar situation where such a traumatic and heart wrenching decision has to be made to end a loved ones life, be it through compassion and to prevent further suffering or through their own selfishness.
Who was he to unilaterally decide on the quality of the kid's life? His wife tells a different picture. In this case, it would apparently have been better had he maintained his stance of staying out of the family's life.
 
#14
Had to show this thread to mrs Tigger, as she has spent a full career working with and for the physicly and mentally handicapped, it saddened her a lot as she has seen this kind of thing on so many occasions before, she said that Prodigal and Old redcap have it right ...............some people cannot cope with situations like this at all ,and that is fine there is support and help around and available but
NO ON HAS THE RIGHT TO PLAY GOD.............
 
#15
tigger_c/s_30 said:
Had to show this thread to mrs Tigger, as she has spent a full career working with and for the physicly and mentally handicapped, it saddened her a lot as she has seen this kind of thing on so many occasions before, she said that Prodigal and Old redcap have it right ...............some people cannot cope with situations like this at all ,and that is fine there is support and help around and available but
NO ON HAS THE RIGHT TO PLAY GOD.............
Don't get me wrong. If I were right down on the floor with no life worth living, I'd hope someone would help me go. I'd do it for my wife if (God forbid) she got to the same state. I regard it not as playing God but - almost - being God who is said to be merciful.
 
#16
I dont think anyone is taking it the wrong way O R C this is your classic ultimate moral dilema...............Mrs Tigger just firmly believes that everyone has the right to a quality of life if some people need help to supply that to there children that is fine and it should be given, the child did not ask to be born that way.............me personaly agree with her as for God being mercifull weel I dont believe there is one anyway but thats a whole different debate !!!!
 
#17
In the house he had been “running between the kitchen and the bedroom in the morning, stealing biscuits from the biscuit barrel. He was active and strong. He was happy. He was just Jacob.”
It would appear we're not talking about some bed bound vegitable here. The child was in many respects 'fit' and mobile and not apparently at deaths door, - although he may have been in time to come.

I have no hesitation in saying that if one of mine were in a very poor condition with no hope of recovery then I would act. On this ocassion it sounds like he was a bit previous. :(
 

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