Mum acted 'in love, not in anger' in attempt to kill herself and disabled son

A loving Melbourne mother who was "at the end of her tether" when she tried to kill herself and her disabled adult son has been spared jail.

Yvette Nichol, 63, had been the primary carer for her autistic and epileptic son Brett, 34, for all his life until she tried to kill him and herself at their Eltham North home on May 27.

The court heard Yvette Nichol (left) was a loving mother who reached the end of her tether as sole carer of her disabled son.

Photo: Mal Fairclough

Brett suffers harrowing night terrors, which had been getting more frequent and severe in the years leading up to the incident.

One day, after writing apologetic letters to her loved ones, she attempted to end both their lives.

But both woke and Nichol called an ambulance.

She later pleaded guilty to attempted murder and is awaiting sentencing.

"I'm not going to send you to jail," Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan said on Monday.

"As a community, we ultimately ought to be judged not on our ability to punish, but on our ability to show compassion.

"In the whole sentencing debate, it seems somewhere along the way we have lost sight of that."

Nichol was badly sleep-deprived and depressed at the time of the incident, her lawyer Tim Marsh said.

Brett was suffering terrors every night, some lasting up to an hour, and she would calmly nurse him through the episodes.

In one particular two-week period she slept just 10 hours, the court was told.

"I would challenge anyone to say anything other than she was a woman who did all that she could to care for her son," Mr Marsh said.

"Quite clearly she got to the end of her tether and this disastrous episode followed.

"She acted in love, not in anger, hatred or desire to gain."

Nichol's husband had left her about a year earlier and though she had reached out to authorities for help she wasn't getting enough, the court heard.

The letters she wrote to loved ones before the murder-suicide attempt reveal her state of mind and motivation at the time, the judge said.

"The main theme of all the letters was you wanted to end Brett's suffering," Justice Coghlan said.

Nichol was remorseful and her moral culpability was low, given the difficult and unique position she faced at the time, the judge added.

She was placed on a two-year community corrections order.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14

from https://www.theage.com.au/national/victo...


Melbourne mum who tried to kill disabled son avoids jail

Rick Goodman | The West Australian
Monday, 4 December 2017 6:48PM

Yvette Nichol (left) avoided jail despite admitting she tried to kill herself and her disabled adult son.

Yvette Nichol (left) avoided jail despite admitting she tried to kill herself and her disabled adult son.Picture: AAPIMAGE

At the end of her tether after decades of caring for her autistic and epileptic son, Yvette Nichol wanted the pain and suffering to end.

After writing letters to family members, she tried to take her life and that of her adult son out of “love, not anger”.

 

But she woke and so did he, and feeling regretful, she called an ambulance.

Nichol, 63, later pleaded guilty to attempted murder and on Monday she was spared jail by a judge who said the case called for mercy.

“I’m not going to send you to jail,” Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan said.

“As a community, we ultimately ought to be judged not on our ability to punish, but on our ability to show compassion.

“There is a place for compassion and for mercy. I am satisfied that yours is such a case.”

Yvette Nichol (left) leaves court in Melbourne after avoiding a jail term.

Yvette Nichol (left) leaves court in Melbourne after avoiding a jail term.Picture: AAPIMAGE

Nichol had been the primary carer for her son Brett, 34, for all his life until the murder-suicide attempt at their Melbourne home on May 27.

Brett suffered from harrowing night terrors, and these had been getting more frequent and severe in the years leading up to the incident.

“I would challenge anyone to say anything other than she was a woman who did all that she could to care for her son,” defence lawyer Tim Marsh said before the sentencing.

“Quite clearly she got to the end of her tether and this disastrous episode followed.

“She acted in love, not in anger, hatred or desire to gain.”

The court also heard Nichol’s husband had left her about a year earlier and she reached out for help from authorities but wasn’t getting enough.

During the worst of Brett’s night terrors, Nichol barely slept for days on end as she calmly nursed him through the episodes.

In one particular two-week period she slept just 10 hours, the court was told.

The letters she wrote to loved ones before the murder-suicide attempt reveal her state of mind and motivation at the time, the judge said.

“The main theme of all the letters was you wanted to end Brett’s suffering,” Justice Coghlan said.

Nichol was remorseful and her moral culpability was low, given the difficult and unique position she faced at the time, the judge added.

She was placed on a two-year community corrections order.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

from https://thewest.com.au/news/australia/me...