Murder Attempt Antidepressants 02/06/2009 England Daughter Attempts to Smother her Mother: Was Sleepwalking: Acquitted
Paragraphs 14 through 16 read: "Ms Sheppard-Saunders, who claimed to have a history of sleepwalking and was taking anti-depressants, told police in the 999 call: 'I just went blank'."
"Asked why she had done it, she added: 'I have no idea. I didn't know I was doing it until mum woke me up'."
"She said she also had no recollection of putting a blue fleece over her nightie, but found herself wearing it after the incident."
SSRI Stories note: A Journal Article [ http://www.ssristories.drugawareness.org/show.php?item=2205
states that antidepressants may cause violence in sleep.
A DAUGHTER accused of smothering her mum for snoring has walked free from court today after the judge found out she was SLEEPWALKING. Emotional Donna Sheppard-Saunders, 33, hugged her family and friends outside court after her case was thrown out.
Donna called the cops herself after her mother Pamela Sheppard, 54, woke screaming in their shared bedroom on September 15 last year.
And the court heard how Pamela, who survived, shouted to her daughter for help before realising it was HER holding a pillow down on her face.
Ms Sheppard-Saunders held hands with a family member and looked shell-shocked as she left the courtroom after just three hours in the dock.
DistressingHer father and brother were prepared to testify that she used to sleepwalk as a child after she battled leukaemia, but there was no evidence of more recent nocturnal wanderings.
Judge Charles Kemp asked the jury to acquit her after hearing one morning of evidence, saying there was no proof Ms Sheppard-Saunders intended to kill her mother.
He said: "The evidence paints a sad and distressing picture, and this case has been very distressing for the defendant, her mother and every member of the family.
"I've come to the conclusion there is no evidence of an intent to kill, or not sufficient for your consideration.
"The mother never wanted it to get to this point."
In a statement, Pamela, who had lived with her daughter at her three-bed terrace in Petworth, West Sussex, for nearly five years, told how she thought she was having a "bad nightmare" when she found herself being suffocated.
She said: "I screamed out for help from Donna. I managed to pull something away from my face and saw Donna trying to cover my face with the pillow.
"I managed to push Donna off me and ran out of the room. Donna followed me and kept saying she was sorry.
"She told me she couldn't remember what had happened and all she wanted to do was stop me from snoring."
Ms Sheppard-Saunders, who claimed to have a history of sleepwalking and was taking anti-depressants, told police in the 999 call: "I just went blank."
Asked why she had done it, she added: "I have no idea. I didn't know I was doing it until mum woke me up."
She said she also had no recollection of putting a blue fleece over her nightie, but found herself wearing it after the incident.
During the call, the phone is passed to her hysterical mother, who said: "I'm a bit frightened at the moment. My son is coming to get me.
I was struggling and shouting to get her off me. I can't believe she was doing that to me. She tried to suffocate me for no reason."
The court heard Ms Sheppard-Saunders' brother, Luke, had said she was strong enough to kill her mother, if she wanted to.
He added that his sister would ask their mum for sweets and whether she could go to the toilet.
Opening the case, prosecutor Angela Morris said: "The relationship between her mother and Ms Sheppard-Saunders was effectively one where mum would treat the daughter like a child and she would act like one."