The mum of a schizophrenic woman who drowned her four-year-old daughter and set her body on fire has said she is "not a monster" after she was found not guilty of murder.
Carly Ann Harris, 38, believed she was sacrificing her pretty, brown-haired daughter Amelia "to save the world", the trial at Cardiff Crown Court was told.
In the grip of a profound mental disorder, the mum believed she was a fallen angel and needed to make the sacrifice to prove her faith to god.
Today she was acquitted on the basis of insanity but handed an indefinite hospital order.
Speaking outside court, Harris’s mother Jacqui Harris, who was visibly upset, told Wales Online: “It’s bittersweet… I am devastated and beyond words.
“I lost Amelia and I lost Carly. I have lost my life.
“I think it is the right verdict and the judge was decent and kind. He has done the right thing.
“I’ve gone beyond tears. She is my daughter and I am devastated and I have lost my daughter.
“All because one doctor wouldn’t take 10 minutes to talk to her.”
Mrs Harris added: “She is not a monster. She is the salt of the earth.”
Harrowing evidence read to the jury suggested she had planned the killing.
On the day of she killed her daughter on June 8 this year, a friend asked if she and Amelia wanted to visit a play centre the next day.
Harris replied: “I can’t come tomorrow. I haven’t got Amelia.”
Asked what she meant, the defendant said her daughter would be “in heaven”.
That fateful night, her daughter was eating sweets on the sofa.
Her mum carried her upstairs and told her: “You’re going to see the angels. See you in heaven.”
Neighbours in Trealaw, Rhondda, reported hearing the child’s anguished cries as her mother carried out the horrendous act.
Just after 9pm, a neighbour reported hearing a “panicked” child’s voice screaming: “Mammy, mammy, mammy.”
She drowned her child in the bath and then covered her body in a white sheet, before taking her into the garden and setting fire to her.
Her “charred” body would later be found under sheets on a coffee table in the garden.
An hour later, at around 10pm, Harris appeared and said: “Amelia has gone to heaven. Don’t go out the back, she’s gone to heaven. She’s coming back on Sunday.”
Police were called to the scene at 10.15pm. As an officer approached Harris, she held out her hands to be handcuffed and said: “The angels told me to do it. Just arrest me, it’s okay.”
She was given a police caution and replied: “Jesus told me to do it. She will be okay. Trust me. I’m not crazy. I promise you I wouldn’t do that to my only girl if she wasn’t returning.”
The defendant was taken to Merthyr Tydfil Police Station and said: “I deserve to die. My little girl. The angels said it must be done.”
In interviews with a forensic psychologist, she would say that as her daughter’s body burnt, the clouds turned pink and she took that to be a sign. She thought she could see god and the devil facing each other.
Harris told the psychiatrist she did not feel like it was a “crazy action” because she was acting according to her soul. She felt she had achieved immortality.
In interviews with police officers, she said she had been having visions of angels, which made her believe she must sacrifice her daughter to prove her faith.
She said she had “botched” the attempt, because she should have done it on June 7 as seven was a significant number.
Asked what she meant, Harris said it was “all about symmetry” and the stars should have aligned with the dots of her cheeks.
The defendant told police she was a fallen angel and needed to prove her strength. She said she needed to cleanse her child in cold water and then burn her.
Harris, from Brithweunydd Road, Tonypandy, had denied murder and manslaughter.
A jury at Newport Crown Court found her not guilty of murder on the basis of insanity.
The hearing was before Mr Justice Simon Picken.
He told Harris: "A young girl rich in promise met her death at the hands of her mother and in the most horrific manner.
"I am satisfied that you are suffering from a mental health disorder, namely schizophrenia.
"The intention is that as soon as possible you will be transferred to an appropriate clinic close to home.
"I am of the opinion…that because of all the circumstances of this cause including the nature of your case, the most suitable method is me making an order under S37 of the 1983 Act and that is it necessary to protect the public from serious harm."
Section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983 allows a Crown Court to detain a someone in a mental health hospital.
A statement on behalf of Cwm Taf Safeguarding Board said: "This was a tragic incident which shocked the community.
"We would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Amelia’s family who have acted so bravely since the incident occurred.
"We would also like to thank emergency service workers who worked so professionally when they were faced with very difficult scenes on 8th June.
"We will continue to provide the family with the help and support that they need. Amelia, of course, will not be forgotten."
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