Warning: some details in this story can be distressing.
A woman pleaded guilty to murdering her terminally ill and severely disabled daughter in Napier.
In city high court this morning, Cherlyene May Lawrence, 49, admitted to killing 28-year-old Chevana Marie Fox in city high court this morning.
The summary of the facts was published after his guilty plea was declared, Fox, who had suffered from juvenile Huntington’s disease since the age of 16, was confined to a wheelchair and needed 24-hour care.
The disease is a rare, early-onset form of the incurable neurological condition, which causes the degradation of brain cells.
His medical treatment was palliative, with the goal of promoting comfort and safety, rather than prolonging life. He was nearing the end of his life.
Caring for Fox was difficult as he needed constant supervision, could not read or write, and had difficulty speaking.
She needed help showering and eating and wore disposable diapers, often had outbursts of crying for no reason, lashed out at those who cared for her with kicks and blows, and also suffered from major delusions and acted as if they were real.
Fox had previously been in full-time care at two facilities in Hastings. More recently, she had been treated at the mental health unit in the region.
From there, she was discharged to her mother’s care at her home in the Pirimai suburb of Napier on November 30, 2020.
‘No quality of life’
Caregiver Community Connections was hired to provide care for Fox and assistance to his mother, seven days a week.
Although the daily care was constant, there were difficulties in obtaining regular care during the night.
Lawrence often stayed awake throughout the night, sometimes even when caregivers were there, as she was concerned that her daughter would attack them.
She was deprived of sleep and her mental health deteriorated.
Since mid-December, Lawrence has been discouraged by Fox’s lack of quality of life and expressed concern that having her at home “didn’t work.”
She texted her mother, like “How are you feeling today? I feel screwed up. Having Chev here. It’s actually. Pretty shit. Has no quality of life, just cries most of the time. Time. F * n tiring “.
On January 4, he wrote in a text message: “I’m going to end up killing Chevana. I’ve had it. Enough.”
On January 17, Lawrence received a text message from a friend asking how the care situation was going.
She replied, “Things are going well in the atmosphere. At least now I have time and I sleep at night.”
On January 31, two caregivers arrived for a day shift but their daughter was sleeping, so Lawrence sent them home.
That night, there was a misunderstanding with the night shift caretaker, so no caregiver was available, leaving Lawrence without any support.
She spoke with the Community Connections service coordinator the same day about the possibility of not needing any support from the organization and did not say why.
The service coordinator was concerned and suggested that Lawrence think about it over the weekend.
At 7:30 a.m. M. The next day, the day shift caregiver came to her turn. Around 8.30 a.m. M., Lawrence called the care coordinator and said he wanted to continue with the support contract.
Around 10.20 a.m. M., Lawrence told the caregiver that she could leave because Fox was still sleeping. The caretaker had been assigned to work until 2 in the afternoon.
As Chevana slept on her bed in the living room, Lawrence decided that she was going to kill Fox and herself.
She strangled Fox, but changed her mind about the suicide.
Around 11:40 am, after several minutes of panic, Lawrence called 111 and told the dispatcher, “I went crazy and strangled her. I strangled my daughter. She’s dead.”
The dispatcher explained to Lawrence how to perform CPR. Lawrence replied “the problem is that I did it on purpose.” However, he performed CPR for about six minutes.
A short time later, an ambulance arrived and Fox was taken to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a brain injury after cardiac arrest, caused by strangulation.
There was no neurological improvement in his condition and the brain injury could not be survived.
He died at Hawke’s Bay Hospital on February 28.
Lawrence told police that she had been awake most of the night with her daughter and that it had been a long time since she had slept properly.
He said his intention was “for her to go and me too.”
“Her quality of life was not there and if there was some form of euthanasia or something like that, they would have already sacrificed her. She falls through the cracks of the system and everything, it’s like something overwhelming that took over me and it’s like there would be a losing situation all the time. “
Lawrence also said that his daughter had been trying to commit suicide.
“She was suffering, trying to commit suicide every day, trying to grab whatever it was, but I had to get a lot of things out of the house because [sic] she kept wanting to hurt herself over it and you know, when you’re watching this every day and she didn’t want to be around either. “
The summary said that Lawrence had no relevant prior convictions.
Judge Cheryl Gwyn granted Lawrence bail.
He is scheduled to appear in court again for sentencing on November 5.
Where to get help:
I need to talk? Call toll-free or text 1737 anytime to speak with a trained counselor, for any reason.
Life line: 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865/0508 TAUTOKO (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide or for those who are worried about family or friends.
Helpline for depression: 0800111757 (24/7) or text 4202
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
What’s the matter: online chat (3 PM to 10 PM) OR 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428787 Helpline (12 PM to 10 PM Monday to Friday, 3 PM to 11 PM) M. On weekends)
Kidsline (from 5 to 18 years old): 0800 543 754 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254
Health line: 0800 611 116
Rainbow youth: (09) 376 4155
Outline: 0800 688 5463 (6:00 pm to 9:00 pm)
If it is an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.