A mum has been jailed for life after admitting to murdering her toddler son.
Carol Hodgson, 39, was charged with murder after two-year-old Daniel Hodgson Green died in February.
Hodgson pleaded guilty at a brief hearing at Teesside Crown Court last month.
Appearing today wearing a black shirt with her hair pulled back in a ponytail, the judge sentenced her to life imprisonment with a minimum of 18 years and four months.
Prosecutors today said police found the defendant in cardiac arrest when they arrived, and when paramedics arrived they noticed a child “motionless” lying next to her.
The prosecutor told the court: “It’s the prosecution case it was a planned killing and she deliberately did so and then attempted to kill herself but was found by her mother.”
The court heard the alarm was raised when the defendant’s mum found the pair.
She found a note in the hallway that read: “Ring the police please, don’t go into the bedroom you don’t need to see this. I love you and I am sorry.”
Other notes were also found by police saying the only way Hodgson could protect Daniel was to “take him with her”.
Daniel was taken to the emergency department at James Cook University Hospital, and he died shortly after arriving after “nothing could have been done”.
A post-mortem was carried out following the boy’s death and was recorded as unascertained but said doctors were unable to rule out suffocation.
Police found a small kitchen knife covered in blood on a table opposite the bed in the home, the court heard.
Hodgson was found with a large wound on one side of her neck and a smaller wound on the other side along with a vacuum storage bag laid near her hat was covered in blood.
After the defendant opened her eyes and said “just let me die”, the court heard.
Hodgson then asked where Daniel was and was told he was on his way to the hospital.
Mental health staff conducted tests in the hospital and said they had no concerns for her mental health and she was arrested.
Hodgson said she didn’t remember what happened to Daniel but said she loved her son.
When interviewed under caution, Hodgson denied responsibility for the death of her son saying she loved her son and that she remembered taking tablets because she wanted to die.
She said she planned to take her own life and did not want to harm Daniel.
During the police interview, Hodgson said after the breakdown of the relationship with Daniel’s father she sought legal advice.
Hodgson was due to attend a court hearing the morning of her son’s death as Daniel’s father had applied for joint custody.
Defending, Richard Wright QC, said Hodgson accepts full responsibility for the murder of her son.
He said: “There is no part of this mitigation that seeks to avoid that responsibility or shift it to anyone else. Nothing we can say can begin to explain or excuse this offence. She asks herself how could she have done this?”
Sentencing Hodgson today, Judge Paul Watson QC didn’t buy her claim that she didn’t mean to harm Daniel.
Judge Watson said: “Emergency services found Daniel lifeless and brave efforts were made to revive him but he was already dead. He was suffocated by you.
“Your mother told police on the day of the incident you were due to attend court after Daniel’s father had made an application for more contact with Daniel.
“There is no doubt this was a premeditated killing. You deliberately killed Daniel and then made an attempt to kill yourself.
“You must have put the bag over his head until you were satisfied he was dead.”
Dad Stefan Green spoke outside the court following sentencing.
Choking back tears he said: “This tragedy has broken our family, our friends, and our community, but we will rebuild.
“We never got to make a connection with my son, and we never got to see his first steps and hear his first words and now the costs of the actions of an evil person, a person who should have been one of the two people who he felt safest with…there is an entire lifetime of firsts lost.
“I would like to thank the police for their hard work in bringing justice as swiftly as possible, for the support they have offered us and for the support that we continue to get.”
During sentencing, this morning, Daniel’s father gave a victim impact statement describing the “heartbreak”.
He told the court: “He was my entire world. I used to call him my little star.
“I miss hearing him laugh and holding him in my arms. The shocking nature of the loss has made everything worse. I now suffer with PTSD and night terrors.
“I haven’t been able to work and have been on the sick since it all happened. My mam and dad have been broken to the core.
“Even friends of the family have been hit hard. Some days I find myself thinking it maybe easier if I wasn’t here any longer.
“I never got to see his first steps or hear his first words all of that was stolen from me.”