Published May 23, 2017
A mother who stabbed to death her seven children and a niece in northern Australia in 2014 will not stand trial for murder because she was suffering cannabis-induced schizophrenia when she lost control, according to a court judgment released Thursday.
Raina Thaiday stabbed herself 35 times after killing the children, aged 2 to 14 years, at her home in Cairns on Dec. 19, a month after her delusions began.
The Queensland state Mental Health Court ruled a month ago that Thaiday, then 37, had been of "unsound mind" when the children were slain. State law kept the ruling from being made public until Thursday.
She will be held indefinitely in a high-security ward of a psychiatric hospital in the state capital Brisbane and will not be allowed to leave the hospital grounds unescorted.
Thaiday, also known as Mersane Warria, had been smoking up to 20 cones of marijuana a day when she developed severe schizophrenia in late 2014, the court heard.
Justice Jean Dalton said there was convincing evidence that Thaiday suffered a psychotic episode and had no capacity to control or understand her actions.
"Her children were the things that had given her the most happiness in life," Dalton said.
Thaiday remained psychotic until July 2015 and has had two relapses, once at the two-year anniversary of the deaths, and has expressed a desire to kill her fellow patients, the court heard.
Several psychiatrists agreed her lifelong abuse of cannabis triggered her schizophrenia.
The house where the children died was demolished and replaced with eight trees in their honor.