Mum killed her baby daughter in Leeds home believing she was 'possessed by the devil' in horrific tragedy

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A schizophrenic mum killed her baby daughter in their Leeds home after becoming convinced she was possessed by “the devil”.

Part-time student Mimie Tchatchouang had no previous history of mental illness when she strangled 20-month-old Eden Nanseu’s to death to “rid her of evil” at their home on Beckhill Walk in Chapel Allerton.

In the days leading up to the death in January 2020, Leeds Crown Court heard the mum's was becoming increasingly erratic and she began talking about an evil spirit in the family home.

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She would open windows to “let the spirit out”, and developed a “constant need” for prayer, even getting up in the middle of the night.

Twenty-month-old baby Eden died at her home on Beckhill Walk, Chapel Allerton.Twenty-month-old baby Eden died at her home on Beckhill Walk, Chapel Allerton.
Twenty-month-old baby Eden died at her home on Beckhill Walk, Chapel Allerton.

Tchatchouang would also spray “pure water” around the house and anoint her child with olive oil, the court heard.

Denying murder, the 40-year-old pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility which was accepted by the Crown.

She was given a hospital treatment order this week which will keep her held in a secure mental health unit for an indeterminate length of time.

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Forensic psychiatrist Dr Suraj Shenoy told the court that there was “clear evidence of an acute psychotic episode” and said there was “no doubt” she was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

Tchatchouang will remain at the Newsam Centre indefinitely.Tchatchouang will remain at the Newsam Centre indefinitely.
Tchatchouang will remain at the Newsam Centre indefinitely.

He said she had "lost touch with reality" and that she was "hearing a number of voices and she gradually became convinced" that her child "had an evil spirit or the devil inside them".

Dr Shenoy added: "She was also convinced God was acting through her, and started believing Eden’s crying was evidence she was possessed by an evil spirit.”

Prosecutor Robert Smith KC said Cameroon-born Tchatchouang came to the UK in September, 2014 with her husband.

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She was a student at Thomas Danby College in Leeds, studying health and social care, alongside English and maths.

At 9am on January 15, 2020, Tchatchouang was at home with Eden. The court was told in the weeks before, her husband was becoming increasingly “frightened” by his wife’s behaviour, but had no concerns she would turn violent.

Shortly after midday, she then rang her husband and calmly told him that a “mutual friend had died”. He became concerned and eventually called for an ambulance to attend their home.

A paramedic found Tchatchouang with a phone in one hand, and Eden under her other arm. The paramedic said Tchatchouang paid little attention and was looking at her phone as attempts were made to save her daughter’s life.

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Tchatchouang sat in the front of the ambulance on the way to Leeds General Infirmary and continually chanted and recited the Lord’s Prayer while pointing her phone towards her child in the back. Resuscitation attempts went on for more than 30 minutes but she could not be saved.

Tchatchouang could not remember what had happened, and was heard to say she was going to bring her daughter “back to life”.

She was not arrested immediately and allowed home, but her behaviour deteriorated further, where she continued chanting, wailing, praying and shouting about the devil. She did not eat, drink or sleep for several days, had smashed up furniture and was spitting. She was eventually sectioned after her arrest.

She was later transferred to the Newsam Centre unit at Seacroft Hospital. It was determined that Eden had died from asphyxia.

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Mitigating on Tchatchouang’s behalf, Nicholas Lumley KC told the court: “This is a devastatingly tragic case. She has some limited understanding of what occurred.

"She has been transformed from a loving caring mother and wife, to someone who committed the most saddest of offences. She can’t undo it or unpick it. She is full of remorse and sorrow and regret. That will never leave her.”

The Recorder of Leeds, Guy Kearl KC, opted to give her a hospital order rather than jail, after it was heard she had responded well to anti-psychotic treatment, but could relapse if sent to prison.

It means she will remain in the secure Newsam Centre unit at Seacroft Hospital until further notice.

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He told her: “I’m of the view that your mental responsibility for the killing can be described as substantially impaired. You are now asymptomatic because of your compliance with medication and treatment you have received.

"Should you relapse, the risk to the public will be high. You have the potential to be highly dangerous. At the time [of the killing] your condition was undiagnosed. You were deluded and could not see the level of psychosis you were suffering from, nor could others. You had not shown signs of violence and you were of perfectly good character.”

Referring to her detention in the Newsam Centre, he said: “This is not a punishment but for your own wellbeing and that of the public. I’m conscious that the public will be protected adequately.”