A mother who ate her five-year-old son’s head after decapitating him with a machete has been declared criminally insane.
Hanaa Mohamed Hassan, 29 years old and from Egypt, was on trial for the horrific killing of her young son Youssef when a judge ruled she was not fit to plead.
It has now been ruled that Hassan carried out her gruesome attack in a “state of madness”. She will be held in a secure psychiatric unit.
The disturbing crime came to light when Youssef’s uncle discovered some of the boy’s body parts in a bucket at their family home in Faqus, northern Egypt.
An Egyptian court in Zagazig also heard that, after Hassan’s arrest, she admitted to police that she had eaten part of her son’s head because she “wanted him to stay with her forever.”
The court was told that Hassan dismembered her son’s body before stewing his head and other parts in boiling water on a stove.
Prosecutors said that Hassan’s horrendous actions may have been carried out because she feared losing custody of her son to the boy’s father – her ex-husband.
A psychiatric report initially found that Hassan was responsible for her actions, which were described as “premeditated”.
This was because she had got hold of a club and machete before locking all the windows and doors in her home.
The court heard that Hassan struck her son round the head three times, killing him, before then proceeding to dismember his body.
It was later ruled, however, that a more detailed psychiatric assessment was needed to determine Hassan’s mental state.
A panel of experts found that she was “delusional” and had irrational fears that relatives were using sorcery against her son.
Their report also added that Hassan was suffering from impaired judgment and could therefore not realize the severity of her actions.
Hassan will now be detained at the Abbasiya Mental and Neurological Health Hospital in Cairo, Egypt’s capital city.
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She told police after her arrest that she “suffers from a mental illness” and had not meant to kill her son.
Youssef’s father believes that Hassan knew exactly what she was doing when she carried out the brutal killing.
Identified by his initials – H.A. – he told local media in Egypt: “When I arrived, the police prevented me from seeing my son because of the horrific scene.
“We separated from each other four years ago because she had land from her father and asked me to leave the house and my family and go with her to live on the land.
“But I refused, and the relationship ended entirely by her will, and I tried to reconcile with her after the divorce, but she refused and stuck to her opinion.”
He added: “My son was the one who kept me connected to her, and I used to see him regularly and bring him clothes and things he needed.
“But recently she was trying to keep him away from me and plant hatred towards me in his heart, so he wouldn’t come to me.
“I was trying to communicate with her family to see my son and make sure he was OK.”
According to his lawyer, Samir Mohamed Saleh, Hassan told investigators that she “wanted to free him (Youssef) and myself”, and that’s why she did it.
She allegedly added: “I wanted to take revenge against his father and be free. His father keeps coming and trying to take him away all the time.”
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