A DAUGHTER killed her own mother in the dead of night by stabbing her seven times in the chest while she lay in bed, a court has heard.

Laura Van Marle travelled more than 150 miles to the quaint Herefordshire village where her parents lived as she listened to voices in her head telling her to kill.

Worcester Crown Court heard on Thursday how Van Marle – said to be on the verge of insanity – said she was evil as she stabbed her mother to death at the Cradley home using a kitchen knife. 

Prosecuting barrister Richard Smith QC said Susanna Van Marle's last words to her daughter were "you've killed me".

After remaining motionless during the sentencing, Van Marle broke down and wailed as she was taken down from the dock after the judge passed an indefinite hospital order.

Mr Smith said Susanna Van Marle had been asleep in bed with her husband as her daughter, 41, let herself into the house using a spare key kept in the garage.


She had travelled more than 150 miles from Dorset, where she had been living an open-air alternative lifestyle, to carry out the killing.

Mr Smith said Van Marle felt it was the right thing to do in order to put her mother out of her suffering, believing Satan was taking over the world.

He said that Van Marle had suffered with severe mental health issues since 2010, which doctors believed to be schizophrenia and bipolar.

It lead to illusions and hallucinations, he said, and on or before September 25, 2020, Van Marle decided to kill her 69-year-old mother at the family home in Fincher's Corner.

She bought a fillet knife from a gun and tackle shop in Dorchester and then at 9pm drove to Cradley, in the shadow of the Malvern Hills near Ledbury.


But after arriving in the early hours of September 26, she decided that her weapon was "too small" and found a different knife in the kitchen.

She then sat on the bed in her parents' room, waking them. After a brief conversation, she stabbed her mother to death. There were seven wounds, according to a pathologist, which damaged her arteries, lungs and heart.

After a struggle, her father was able to lock his daughter out of the house until the police arrived and Van Marle was arrested and said her actions were due to an "inner message".


Defence barrister Kate Bex QC said Van Marle was of previous good character, and thought what she was doing was an "act of love" due to her mental health.

Van Marle pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and Miss Bex added the residual responsibility was low due to her mental health.

Judge James Burbidge QC said the killing was committed in "the dead of night" and Van Marle used "stealth" to sneak into the family home.

He said Van Marle's parents had always been as supportive as they could be, which was part of the tragedy of the case.

The judge mentioned a psychology report from Professor Gruben which highlighted Van Marle's long-standing and severe mental illness, and accepted the residual responsibility was low.

He made a hospital order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act, with a section 41 restriction order, as Van Marle was at risk of committing further crimes.