Churchgoing mother, 32, drowned her son, two, in the bath after believing ‘spirits had been touching her’ then told her mother: ‘You’d better come upstairs’, court hears
- Natalie Steele drowned her son Reid in the bath, a court has heard
- She killed two-year-old child after thinking she was possessed by demons
- Steele, 32, then told her own mother: ‘You’d better come upstairs’
- The mother-of-one pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility
- She is being sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court today
A church-going mother drowned her two-year-old son in the bath after believing she was possessed by demons, then told her own mother: ‘You’d better come upstairs’, a court has heard today.
Natalie Steele, 32, had been playing with ‘super happy’ Reid Steele in the bath at the family’s £600,000 home in Bridgend, South Wales in August last year when she suddenly held the child underwater.
The pair were on a church camping trip last summer where she started acting strangely and talked about ‘sacrifices’. When mother-of-one Steele said her behaviour could be caused by a demon, a close friend said: ‘We cast you out in Jesus’s name.’
Cardiff Crown Court today heard that Steele went home from the trip where she thought her parents, who she lived with, had ‘creepy eyes’ and she need to protect her little boy from them.
She took Reid to the bathroom where she held his head underwater before leaving him naked on the bathroom floor.
The toddler was revived by paramedics but died in hospital of drowning and hypothermia the next day.
Steele had denied murder but later admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility.
At her sentencing hearing today, Reid’s mother Steele sat quietly in the dock alongside three mental health nurses who explained the legalities of the ‘exceptionally tragic case’.
Natalie Steele, who has admitted killing her two-year-old son Reid
Reid Steele was described as ‘super, super happy’ by his family
The court heard Steele was a ‘brilliant mother’ who was always with playful Reid, teaching him numbers, reading with him and teaching him colours.
Her stepfather Mr Prescott said: ‘He was so intelligent because of all the things she’s taught him, they were always together, inseparable.
‘You never had to worry about Reid, that’s why we are in shock. From minute one she was always devoted to Reid, he wanted for nothing from her. That’s why we are all in shock.’
Prosecutor Michael Jones said that after getting out of the bathroom, Steele told her parents: ‘You’d better come upstairs, I think, I think, I done.’
Mr Jones said: ‘Her mum Amanda Prescott said they were not sentences but words such as ‘I don’t know’. Mrs Prescott describes going into panic mode because Reid wasn’t with her. She asked her: ‘What have you done?’
‘She replied ‘Reid. The bath’.’
‘She ran upstairs into the bathroom and saw Reid lying in the middle of the bathroom floor wrapped in a towel. His eyes were open but Mrs Prescott immediately started CPR.’
Mr Jones said paramedics and police arrived as Steele stood around ‘looking vacantly’ and ‘shaking’ as Reid was ‘lying across the bathroom floor naked with his feet to the door.’
Undated handout file photo issued by South Wales Police of Reid Steele
Reid was airlifted to hospital and medics were able to restart his heart but he tragically died the following day on August 12 last year.
Cardiff Crown Court heard Steele spoke to officers in the living room of the house in Broadlands, Bridgend.
Mr Jones said: ‘She told the officer she had been in the bathroom with Reid playing ‘cups of tea’. The defendant then said she had been really worried about her family and they had creepy eyes.
‘She told the officers she had problems with spirits and that the spirits had been ‘touching her”.
Mr Jones said: ‘Her mother then said to her: ‘You did it?’ to which the defendant replied: ‘I felt like I had to protect him from you’. Mrs Prescott became very distressed as the defendant showed the officers little emotion. She shouted at her ‘you drowned him’.
Flowers, tributes and toys left near where Reid Steele was found dead in Bridgend, Wales
‘The defendant said she had been in the bath with Reid and had breastfed him, she said she was worried about Reid and she felt like she needed to protect him.
‘She then said: ‘Then I held him under the water’ as she said this her two hands dropped down in front of her and her one hand was on top of the other as if she was recreating a holding motion.
‘She explained how she brought him out, wrapped him in a towel and held him.’
In a tribute following his death, the family said: ‘Reid was honestly the most energetic, happy, intelligent, beautiful and loved child we have ever met. He was able to count to 10 in three languages.
‘His favourite things were Bob the Builder, Winnie the Pooh and the Heffalump, the beach, shells and pebbles, diggers, flowers and nature. Reid lit up everyone’s lives. He adored the songs You Are My Sunshine, This Little Light of Mine and Bob the Builder.
‘We miss him with every fibre of our beings. Reid never experienced evil or pain in his little life, he was so adored by all of us. We miss him every single day. He was the most beautiful and precious angel to grace the earth.
‘If anyone of you were able to have met him in his short life, you will understand exactly what we mean.’
The hearing before Judge Michael Fitton QC continues.
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