THE devastated grandparents of two toddlers drowned by their mum have said there were “missed opportunities” to stop their daughter carrying out the killing.
Samantha Ford, 38, drowned 23-month old Chloe and Jake on Boxing Day 2018, just months after she split from husband Steven Ford.
Samantha, with husband Steven Ford, denied murder but admitted two counts of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility
Samantha Ford, 38, killed her children Jake and Chloe on Boxing Day last year after her split from their father Steven Ford a few months beforehand
Samantha admitted two counts of manslaughter by diminished responsibility, and was locked up for 10 years in August 2019, to be served in a psychiatric unit.
She had met ex Steven in 2004 and moved with him to Qatar four years later. They returned to Margate, Kent in February 2018 before separating in the autumn.
A coroner today ruled the deaths as unlawful killing following a week-long inquest, which heard that Ford suffered an acute stress reaction to the end of her marriage to her ex-husband.
In the weeks leading up to the killing, Samantha had been in touch with doctors and nurses – though coroner Christopher Sutton-Mattocks concluded there was no inclination that the children were going to be harmed.
But Tony and Colette Emptage, parents of Ford, today said in a statement that their daughter had been suffering from “serious mental illness”, and claimed there were “missed opportunities” to stop the killings.
They said: “It has been made clear that Samantha repeatedly sought but did not receive the urgent medical help and treatment for her illness that she needed.
“We remain concerned that there were missed opportunities for Chloe and Jake.
“Although Samantha repeatedly sought help (speaking to 14 different professionals throughout November and December) she was only seen face to face on two occasions and the only solution appeared to be to prescribe her more and more medication.
“We can only hope that the support networks that are in place to help people suffering the mental distress endured by Samantha will be strengthened to ensure that this can never happen to another family.”
Steve smiles with his ‘beautiful’ twins before their tragic deathsCredit: Steven Ford
The dad has previously slammed his estranged wife’s sentence
Husband Steven pictured with the two twins, who were killed by their mum
It came after Dr Robert Immelman, of the Charing Practice, described how he had a consultation with Ford on December 21, 2018 in which she requested an extension of her anti-depressant medication as she was having trouble sleeping.
He said a letter from a mental health service which stated she had been having suicidal thoughts had not been put on her medical file ahead of the consultation, despite having been sent a week earlier.
The heartbroken grandparents added: “The deaths of our grandchildren Chloe and Jake was the worst pain that any family could ever endure, we will never recover from the loss of their precious lives.
“They were beloved and much-wanted children, and evidence given to the coroner has shown that Samantha was a loving and devoted mother to them.”
But Coroner Christopher Sutton-Mattocks today concluded that “there was no foreseeability that this tragic outcome was likely”.
He said: “I make it clear that in my judgement there was no foreseeability that this tragic outcome was likely, in fact the opposite.
“Throughout the period Samantha Ford’s family, friends, estranged husband or medical practitioners had no incline at all that the lives of the twins were at risk. They were concerned about the risk of Samantha’s safety and risk of suicide.”
Ford is currently detained in a psychiatric hospital until medical experts deem her fit to be moved to prison.