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Weekly overturns gag in child killer case

The full story of a mother who stabbed and slit the throats of her three children can be revealed after a weekly newspaper reporter persuaded an Old Bailey judge to overturn a banning order.

Sasikala Navaneethan attacked her three children at her family home in Carshalton, Surrey, last May after claiming she was being beaten by her husband.

She left them dying on their beds while she attempted to kill herself with rat poison.

Until now, only the details of the two children who died in the attack had been revealed in the media as a court order banned identification of the third child, Trishana Navaneethan, who managed to survive.

Navaneethan pleaded guilty to two offences of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and the attempted murder of Trishana when the case came before the Old Bailey this week.

Although initial reports of the incident had named her as well as the two dead children, it was feared that she would not be able to be named in reports of the court case for fear of jigsaw identification.

However Croydon Guardian reporter Peter Truman persuaded judge Brian Barker to overturn the order under Section 39 of the Children and Young Person’s Act on the basis it was unreasonable.

He argued the daughter, who was six months old at the time of the attack, would be too young to be affected by any publicity surrounding the case.

It meant, for the first time, the media could report on the attempted murder of baby Trishana and the full details of the horrific attack.

Guardian assistant editor Matthew Knowles said: “There was a real fear we may not be able to report the conclusion of this court case properly because the mother’s name would be taken out to comply with the order despite the fact we had named her and the two dead children all along.

“Peter prepared a submission for the judge setting out our arguments to lift the Section 39 altogether and the judge accepted there would be little impact on identifying the surviving child because she was so young.

“The credit for the nationals’ and other papers’ ability to report the full story should go to Peter who was the only reporter in court who prepared a submission.”