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