heathfield murder mum is focus of tv show


A crime which shocked the nation is the subject of a cutting edge documentary to be screened on national TV later this year.

It investigates the impact on Heathfield of the murder of two children by their mother, Fiona Donnison, who had lived in Mill Road with her husband Paul.

Donnison, 45, left home in September 2010, taking Harry, three, and Elise, two, with her.

She suffocated both in their beds in February 2010 and drove to Heathfield before leaving their bodies stuffed intwo sports bags in the boot of her car, parked in Mill Close.

At her trial in August 2011 Donnison, who refused to give evidence, pleaded not guilty to murder but the jury returned a guilty verdict and she was jailed for 32 years.

Jurors heard she had ‘contorted’ Harry’s body in order to fit it into the bag and called into two motorway stores to shop.

Judge Mr Justice Nicol described the murders as ‘deliberate and wicked acts.’

The killing horrified the country town and had a profound impact on people living hearby. Now reporter Caroline Stocker is interviewing neighbours and residents preparing for an Investigation Discovery Channel programme about women who kill.

An appeal was lodged last year against the jail term which lawyers said was ‘manifestly excessive.’ Judges disagreed.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge sitting with Mr Justice Openshaw and Mr Justice Irwin were given details about her mental state.

They heard from Simon Russell Flint QC the killings were in the context of Donnison’s genuine suicide attempt. But Lord Judge said the balance achieved ‘fell within the appropriate range for a sentence of this kind.’