A mother suffering from acute depression, who drowned her 23-month-old twins in the bath following the breakdown of her marriage, has been jailed for 10 years.
Samantha Ford, 38, killed her children Jake and Chloe in Margate on Boxing Day last year, a few months after her split from their father Steven Ford.
On Friday, she was sentenced at the Old Bailey. She will complete it in jail after psychiatric treatment.
Mr Justice Edis told the defendant: “The horror of what happened does not need any explanation by me.
“Anyone with any imagination can envisage for themselves what must have happened in that bathroom.
“It is unlikely that they died simultaneously and it must have taken some time and required some determination.”
“Your anger with your husband was a significant contributory factor.
“In deciding to kill your children and yourself, I am sure that you had thoughts of the effect this would have on Steven Ford, with whom all the psychiatrists say you were preoccupied.
“You knew it would devastate him and I’m sure that is a reason why you did it.”
The court heard Ford tried to take her own life after the children had died by driving her car into the back of a lorry at an estimated speed of 100mph.
When police managed to open the doors of her vehicle, she told them: “I’ve killed my babies. Please let me die.”
Ford had denied murder but admitted two counts of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at a hearing in May.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Ford said he thought his children would have been “terrified, confused and that they suffered” in death.
He said: “This was the most heinous, spiteful act on two innocent children. I have no doubt [Ford] did this with the intention of taking her own life and punishing me in the process.”
He added: “I know how she behaves when things don’t go her way and when she doesn’t get what she wants.
“It’s an extreme version of her character because she couldn’t get her own way – knowing how much I loved the children she knew it would be the ultimate punishment for me not going back to her.”
Ford and her husband had spent the first 10 years of their marriage living in Qatar and their children were born by IVF while living there.
But the relationship turned sour after they returned to the UK in early 2018 and moved to the village of Charing in Kent, the court previously heard.
Ford was angry at leaving her affluent lifestyle in the Middle East, the Old Bailey heard, and was said to be trying to pressure her husband into returning to Qatar – leading to their split in November 2018.
In one message to Mr Ford, she said: “You have ripped my world apart now we are nothing but a miserable, broken family growing up in a s***hole.”
Relatives said Ford’s mental health declined rapidly following the separation, the court heard.
Prosecutor Tom Kark QC said: “She was very upset that the relationship had broken down and didn’t like the idea of becoming a single mother.”
She and the children moved to an address in Castle Drive, Margate, while Mr Ford remained in Charing.
Brenda Campbell QC, for Ford, said there had been 76 communications between Ford and mental health services in the weeks before the killings.
By Christmas, her family decided that her mental health was so poor that Mr Ford should take the twins and bring them back on Boxing Day, the court heard.
Ford drowned them later that evening after her parents had left the house
Dr Muzzaffar Hussain, a consultant forensic psychiatrist treating Ford at the Trevor Gibbens Hospital in Maidstone, Kent, said her actions could be attributed to a “narcissistic rage” at her perceived humiliation at the hands of her husband.
“There’s a sense of being mocked by him that played a role,” he said.
Dr Hussain also described her “sense of entitlement”.
He said Ford had been experiencing a “homicide/suicide fantasy”, saying: “That, I think, was in play as a way of retaliation and of punishment of Mr Ford for leaving her – a sense of ‘this is what you made me do’.”