Case of nurse accused of smothering her son stalls due to psychiatrist report
Durban mom Megan Prins, who is accused of murdering her seven-year-old son Sloan in July last year, is likely to raise a defence of “temporary insanity” and her trial will essentially be a “clash” of psychiatrists' opinions.
While three state psychiatrists have already found her fit to stand trial, Prins, a qualified nurse, has consulted a private psychiatrist. This report is expected to shed light on whether she knew the difference between right and wrong when she smothered her son at an Umhlanga bed and breakfast establishment, and whether she could act in accordance with that.
Prins made a brief appearance before Durban high court judge Esther Steyn on Monday. The trial was supposed to begin but her attorney, Burt Laing, told the court that he had yet to receive the psychiatrist’s report, although it had been prepared.
The report also still had to be made available to state advocate Denado McDonald so he could decide what evidence he needed to present.
The trial had been set down for a month which, Steyn noted, “is a very long time”.
Laing said from his side, Prins would testify, along with possibly one or members of her family and the psychiatrist. McDonald said he would have to call all three psychiatrists who observed her at Town Hill hospital because their reports were disputed by Prins - “and another three to five witnesses at the very least”.
Laing asked for a provisional adjournment date, and Steyn said the trial must start on October 31.
According to the indictment, Prins lived with her son in Kensington Heights in Morningside.
Her relationship with Sloan’s father, Robert Porter, was a “tumultuous one” and ended in 2017. He became involved in a new relationship and this angered Prins.
They were also constantly at loggerheads over money.
In early 2018, she refused to allow Porter to see his child.
The state will allege that Prins planned the murder and had intended to commit suicide.
“To this end, she checked into the guest house. She plied (Sloan) with medication to lull him to sleep. She then smothered him with a pillow until he died.”
The postmortem report noted the cause of death as “consistent with compression of the face and neck”.
Prins was released on bail in October last year. During that application, she alleged she had been physically and emotionally abused, was suffering from major depression and was financially ruined.
In an affidavit handed into court, she detailed a history of abuse at the hands of her ex-boyfriend and a history of severe post-natal depression, for which she had been hospitalised several times.
She said after their break-up, Sloan's father stopped contributing to the bills.
"I was solely responsible for bringing up Sloan. At nights there was sometimes only enough food for him to eat so I went without.
"I feared losing my home. Then Standard Bank called for an immediate payment of R57,000 on the bond. I felt abandoned and helpless."
In an affidavit, her brother, Adrian Prins, described the relationship between her and her son as extremely loving.
"This has completely destroyed her. She says she cannot look at her own hands. She keeps asking herself, 'What was I thinking?'"
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