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Horror of night Exeter mum killed son

By This is Exeter  |  Posted: January 29, 2010

UNFOLDING TRAGEDY: An inquest has heard the details of the night Emma Manser killed her son Ryan, four

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THE moments after Emma Manser smothered  her son with a pillow  and then attempted to  kill her mother in a frenzied attack have been  described at an inquest  into the toddler’s death.
The 24-year-old had  been discharged from  the Cedars mental  health unit at Wonford  House Hospital in Exeter just days before she  killed four-year-old  Ryan at his grandmother Wendy Richard’s  home in Whipton, Exeter.
 Family members  relived the nightmare of  his death at the two-day  inquest, which is expected to finish today.
 The inquest heard  that Ryan was on the  child protection register  and would often stay for  long periods with Miss  Richards when Emma  was unwell.
In April 2007, the young  mum was staying the night  at Miss Richard’s flat in  Mincinglake Road when she  woke her mother up and told  her she had killed Ryan.
Giving evidence at the inquest, Miss Richards told  how she desperately tried to  give life-saving first aid to  her grandson before she was  attacked by Emma.
“After about an hour I was  woken up and I think it was  hearing my door go,” she  said.
“I saw Emma was just  standing there. I said: ‘What  do you want?’ She said:  ‘What have I done to Ryan?  Look what I’ve done to him’.  I could see something was  wrong. She was icy and her  eyes were huge and empty.  The way she said it was  creepy.
“I rushed into the living  room, I was feeling sick. I  knew I was going into something not nice. I could smell  sick and Ryan was a horrible  colour. I went over and  grabbed him and I screamed  for someone to get an ambulance. I tried pumping on  his chest.”
Miss Richards told the inquest that Emma grabbed a  knife from the kitchen and  plunged it into her shoulder.
“She went into the kitchen  and got a knife and said: ‘I  will kill you now’,” she said.  “I felt something go in my  shoulder. I didn’t know she  had stabbed me. I saw her go  to stab me again, I was  screaming for my partner  Stefan.”
The inquest heard that Ms  Manser, who had suffered  from mental health problems for several years, had  spoken of wanting to kill  members of her family, including Ryan.
But Miss Richards said  that was “just something she  used to say”.
Emma was only allowed to  spend time with Ryan under  supervision under an agreement between social services  and Miss Richards.
Despite this, the inquest  heard that Emma would regularly sleep next to Ryan in  the living room of her mother’s flat whenever she stayed  there.
Miss Richards said that  questions were never asked  about the sleeping arrangements.
She said: “She just wasn’t  allowed to take him out on  her own.”
The inquest heard that Ms  Manser believed she was the  “Messiah who had been put  on earth to do God’s work”.  And she spoke of self-sacrifice and also of sacrificing  Ryan.
Dr Andrew Blewett, consultant psychiatrist at the  Cedars, told the inquest that  Ms Manser had been diagnosed with schizophrenia  and had symptoms of a personality disorder.
She was arrested and  charged with Ryan’s murder  and the attempted murder of  her mother Wendy and  placed in The Dene, in West  Sussex, a secure mental  health unit, but was later  found hanging in her room.
The inquest into Ryan’s  death continues today.

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  • BillyW  |  January 06 2013, 10:39PM

    Its time this unit was shut down. Staff at the Cedars are corrupt and unprofessional and it would appear that it is okay for a nurse to call a patient a disgrace and tell her to grow up - then when reported she denies it all. Why is it that the ones who dish it out can never take it back. Grow up nurse LW you're the disgrace.

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    Michelle, St Thoms, Exeter  |  January 31 2010, 2:38PM

    I have to say i was shocked when i heard about what had happened as i used to live close to the family when they lived in whipton. As Emma was only a child herself then and can say she never seemed a troubled little girl as she used to play with my daughter when they where kids. It came as a very BIG shock to me and would never of put Emma down to of done this sort of thing, so it just goes to show how she obvouisly needed help. I am saddened for her mum and family as no matter what Wendy lost not just a grandson but a daughter to. Like i said i knew the family and would never of expected this to of happened to a little girl that used to play up and down our street always with a smile on her face. Emma obvouisly had something troubling her later on in her life and i am saddened by this as the little girl i knew would never of took her sons life, so i ask myself "did she really get the help she obvouisly needed?" My thoughts are with all the family and hope that people will understand that Emma wasnt a nasty person she just obvouisly needed help for a illness that seems to me " took" over her life and "out of her control".. After all who no's what really makes us snap.....

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    Mrs S, Exeter  |  January 29 2010, 1:03PM

    Such a tragedy, that surely could have been avoided. Emma's mother said at the inquest that she felt Emma had been released to early and that she kept going on about the Messiah and sacraficing herself and little Ryan YET she was left alone with him.

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    Vicky, Exeter  |  January 29 2010, 11:56AM

    I have mental Health problems myself and think the support i get in Exeter from the Mental Health Team team is excellent, I am also a mother so Michelle if you know anyone wit problems that is afraid to have kids tehn please tell them the support is amazing and improving all the time.

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    michelle, exeter  |  January 29 2010, 11:29AM

    Yes Gribble there are people who are sadly a risk themselves and others and alot of the time they dont get the help they need or deserve. There are also people out there who suffer from mental health problems that are a direct result of childhood abuse and who would love to have children but wont because they fear child protection would take the child into care just because they have mental health problems. Sadly there is alot of misconceptions about mental health problems but most are not stark raving mad killers who need to be locked up for their own safety and the safety of others. Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people and can affect anyone at any given time in their life. Just because they have mental health problems does not always mean they are a risk to others. With the right treatment and support people with mental health issues can and do lead normal lives and some hide their problems so well you wouldnt know they were ill.

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    vicky, Exeter  |  January 29 2010, 11:21AM

    Emma loved that little boy so much, it really is a double tragedy i hope they are together again now and at peace.

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    Robyn, Bodmin Cornwall  |  January 29 2010, 10:38AM

    @@@ Gribble Since they closed our local unit the poor souls Wander aimlessly up and down Bodmin High street or Congulate in the local cafe nowhere to go nothing to do

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    GRIBBLE, COWICK ST  |  January 29 2010, 8:49AM

    Since they closed all the units and places for people with mental health problems this has become a major problem. no one seems to give a dam about the people who need help the most There are people on the street who are a danger to the public and themself.