Gran admits killing grandson, 5, who was stabbed to death at home while in her care

Elena Anghel admitted manslaughter of five-year-old David-Mario Lazar by diminished responsibility who was found stabbed to death
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A woman has admitted killing her five-year-old grandson at his home while he was in her care.

Romanian national Elena Anghel, 51, who was suffering delusions linked to paranoid schizophrenia, killed David-Mario Lazar at their house in Poplar Road, Earlsdon, Coventry, on 25 January last year.

The schoolboy, known to family members as Mario, was found stabbed to death, with a post-mortem examination showing he had suffered 29 areas of sharp force injury, including wounds to his head, chest, back and hand.

Ms Anghel, who has a history of mental illness, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility during a hearing at Warwick Crown Court.

David-Mario Lazar was found stabbed to death at his home (Photo: West Midlands Police handout / PA)David-Mario Lazar was found stabbed to death at his home (Photo: West Midlands Police handout / PA)
David-Mario Lazar was found stabbed to death at his home (Photo: West Midlands Police handout / PA)

Opening the facts of the case against Ms Anghel, prosecution Christopher Tehrani KC said a forensic psychiatrist had stressed that, in his opinion, the defendant was “very unwell” at the time of the killing.

Mr Tehrani said the 51-year-old joined other family members in Coventry after being treated for a “moderate” mental disorder in March 2020 in Romania. He told the court: “She has no previous convictions. She does however have a psychiatric history. Mario’s parents were aware that the defendant had had prior problems with mental health. Mario’s parents were not aware of any continuing mental health issues.”

The court heard Romanian-born David-Mario, described as a bright boy who took pleasure in learning English, was killed after coming home from school with his father, who then returned to work.

Summarising a statement made by David-Mario’s mother shortly after he was killed, Mr Tehrani said: “He was the most precious thing to her. He was her world. He was always happy and smiling.”

David-Mario Lazar with his parents Cristina and Dorinel (Photo: West Midlands Police handout / PA)David-Mario Lazar with his parents Cristina and Dorinel (Photo: West Midlands Police handout / PA)
David-Mario Lazar with his parents Cristina and Dorinel (Photo: West Midlands Police handout / PA)

Addressing the events which led to the boy’s death, Mr Tehrani added: “When Mario arrived home he shouted to the defendant that he was home. The defendant asked him how school had been. The defendant appeared to be her normal self and had been in the preceding weeks as far as they could tell.”

The court heard that shortly before 5.15pm Ms Anghel went to a Co-op store in nearby Earlsdon Street in a distressed state, appearing to be saying “police” and “translate” repeatedly.

Police were called to the scene and the 51-year-old told an officer who could speak Romanian that she had killed her grandson, making delusional claims that she had not wanted him to suffer serious assaults at the hands of someone else.

Mr Tehrani said: “She said she had done what she had done to Mario out of love. When they (police officers) attended the property, the horror of what had happened within the property became evident.

“Mario’s body was lifeless. No pulse was detected and there was no other signs of life. Shortly thereafter Mario was declared dead.”

The prosecution accepted Ms Anghel’s not guilty plea to a charge of murder and was sentenced to a hospital order in court on Tuesday (20 June). Passing sentence, High Court judge Mrs Justice Cockerill described the case as “truly tragic”.

The judge told Ms Anghel: “The sad truth is that when you killed Mario you were exceedingly mentally unwell. Your delusions were all encompassing. You had in effect lost contact with reality.

“You were convinced that your grandson was in such danger of terrible suffering that it would be better to kill him and that is what you did. I am sure you would never have hurt, much less killed, Mario had you not been very ill.”

The judge was told Ms Anghel, who was accompanied in the dock by four health workers and an interpreter, has an extensive history of treatment in Romania for psychotic and depressive disorders dating back to at least 2009.

In a victim impact statement read into the court record by prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith, David-Mario’s mother said: “Mario was five years old when he died and he was killed by my mother. I still cannot believe this has happened. It is over a year ago now and nothing changes.”

The statement added: “In our home Mario is everywhere. There are pictures and memories of him all over. He will never be forgotten. I never saw her (Anghel) do anything around my son that would alarm me. She loved him and he loved her. I would never have trusted her to care for Mario if she had shown any signs of illness.”

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