Schizophrenic Mother Claims Demons Told Her To Set Fire To Young Child


Tribune Staff Reporter


A jury yesterday saw graphic photos of the charred body of a one-year-old girl who died from being set afire by her schizophrenic mother who claimed demons told her to do it, a court heard yesterday.

At least one juror could be seen fighting back tears as she and her fellow jurors flipped through the photo album chronicling the injuries Philicia Marshall suffered, allegedly at the hands of Phillipa Marshall in December 2017.

The all-female jury also saw photos of the elder Marshall, which showed her having sustained burns, boils, and swelling around on her abdomen area as of December 28, 2017.

The evidence was shown during day one of Marshall's trial before Justice Bernard Turner over allegations she caused her daughter's death by means of unlawful harm.

Prosecutors allege Marshall doused her child with gasoline and set her afire in December 2017 at her Faith Gardens home after hearing voices. The child died in February 2018 after having been cared for at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).

Based on the evidence led thus far, Philicia suffered injuries to her head, her stomach, her right forearm, and her back. According to a statement by crime scene investigator Corporal 2179 Jermaine Stubbs, which was read into evidence by his senior, Inspector Gardell Rolle, sometime around 10.30am on February 20, 2018, he got certain information from Dr Caryn Sands, a forensic pathologist stationed at the Rand Laboratory at PMH.

When he arrived at the laboratory, he spoke with Dr Sands in person and got additional information and instructions. Cpl Stubbs said Dr Sands also showed him the body of a deceased female child that was covered in bandages.

Cpl Stubbs said he took pictures of the child's body in that condition. Afterwards, he said the bandages were removed.

When the bandages were removed, Cpl Stubbs said he noticed a series of injuries about the child's body. He subsequently took photos of the child's body, which he later had placed on a CD. A photo album was also created from the images.

The jury also heard evidence from Detective Corporal Rudolph Sweeting, another crime scene investigator, who said he was the one who took photographs of the elder Marshall while she was admitted to the Accident & Emergency section of PMH on December 28, 2017.

Three photographs ended up being placed in the album that was tendered into evidence yesterday: one of Marshall's face, a full body shot of the accused, and a close up of her abdomen.

In May of last year, Justice Turner ordered that a jury determine whether Marshall, a resident of Kemp Road, was mentally fit to stand trial.

Prior to her initial arraignment before Magistrate Samuel McKinney, Marshall had spent several weeks at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre due to mental health issues.

She is now listed as an outpatient there.

Marshall was granted $15,000 bail with two sureties by former Chief Justice Stephen Isaacs in April 2018.

As part of her bail conditions, Marshall must live with her sister-in-law.

She is also to have supervised visits with her two other children.

Attorney Bjorn Ferguson represents the accused. Cephia Pinder-Moss and Tommel Roker represent the Crown.

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