THIS is the first picture to be released of a loving mum before she went on to kill her tragic two-year-old son.
Melanie Ruddell was suffering from acute psychosis when she killed her son Christy in August 2010.
The 40-year-old, of Castle Eden, discharged herself from the University Hospital of Hartlepool and just hours later walked into Peterlee Police Station carrying the lifeless child in her arms.
A documentary, called I Took My Baby’s Life and due be aired on Monday, will feature diaries and letters written by Ruddell.
It will also focus on the thoughts of the family and friends of Ruddell as they speak about the events which led up to the death of two-year-old Christy.
The ITV 1 show described as: “A documentary looking at the tragic story of Melanie Ruddell, who killed her two-year-old son in 2010 while in the midst of an acute psychotic breakdown.”
Ruddell pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Newcastle Crown Court and continues to receive treatment at a secure facility.
The documentary features comments from notes Melanie has penned about the tragedy, reflecting on what happened.
At an inquest into Christy’s death, held in May, Sunderland coroner Derek Winter recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.
He has since written to the Secretary of State for Health to recommend mental health awareness training for medical staff and to stress the important part loved ones play in such situations.
An inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, published last month, said officers from Northumbria and Durham forces acted appropriately when dealing with the mother in the days leading up to the attack.
But Melanie’s family say their calls for help during that time “fell on deaf ears” as they sought support because of her strange behaviour, which included claims she had been assaulted and accusations she had harmed her boy which she said were made against her.
They also talk about how they feel Christy’s death could have been prevented.
Melanie, who called her son Mr Beautiful, was taken to University Hospital of Hartlepool by her concerned friends and family and told she was suffering from acute psychosis by A&E specialist Dr Clement Agbatar.
She claimed she felt better after he told her it could be several hours before a crisis team could carry out a full mental health assessment.
She then discharged herself to go to her brother’s home, near Durham City, where she strangled Christy before driving to Peterlee with his body.
Her sister, Julie Stout, speaks of Melanie’s devotion as a mother and visiting her in hospital.
She said: “She knew what she’d done, but she also believed that he was coming back.
“She said she had some magic words.
“She just needed to remember where she’d put them.
“And you don’t know what’s sadder. The fact that he’s never coming back or the fact that she thinks he is.
“I can’t put her sadness into words.”
The programme will be screened on ITV1 at 10.35pm.