Warning: Some details of this story can be disturbing.
A woman has confessed to killing her sick and severely disabled daughter in Napier.
In the City High Court this morning, 49-year-old Cheryl May Lawrence admitted that 28-year-old Shevana Marie Fox was murdered in the City High Court this morning.
A summary of the facts was released after her application. Fox, who had been suffering from Huntington’s disease since the age of 16, was confined to a wheelchair and needed 24-hour care.
Illness is a rare, early form of incurable neurological condition that causes brain cells to break down.
Her medical treatment was calm, with the aim of promoting comfort and safety rather than prolonging life. She was nearing the end of her life.
‘Voices of crying’
Fox was difficult to care for, as she needed constant monitoring, was unable to read or write, and had difficulty speaking.
She needed help bathing and eating and wore disposable nappies, often crying for no reason, kicking and kicking her curses, and even a major deception. Impressed, and acted as if they were real.
Fox was previously in full-time care at two facilities in Hastings. Most recently, she was cared for in the area’s mental health unit.
She was released on November 30, 2020, at her home in the Napier area of Permai to care for her mother.
‘No quality of life’
The caregiver Community Connection was contracted to provide Fox care and support for her mother seven days a week.
Although daily care was permanent, it was difficult to get regular care overnight.
Lawrence often stayed up all night, sometimes even when the caregivers were there, because he feared his daughter would attack them.
She lost sleep and her mental health deteriorated.
Since mid-December, Lawrence Fox has been frustrated by the lack of quality of life and has expressed concern that keeping him at home is “not working.”
He sent text messages to his mother, such as “How are you feeling today? Time. F * n Tiring”.
“I am going to kill Shivana. I have it. Enough is enough,” he wrote in a January 4 post.
On January 17, Lawrence received a text from a friend asking how the care situation was going.
He replied: “Things are fine. At least I take my time and sleep at night.”
On January 31, two caregivers came for a day shift but their daughter was asleep, so Lawrence sent them home.
That night, there was a misunderstanding with Night Shift Care, so no caregiver was available, leaving Lawrence without support.
He spoke to the Service Coordinator for Community Connections the same day about the possibility of the organization not needing any co-operation and why.
The service coordinator expressed concern and advised Lawrence to think about it over the weekend.
‘Just turned around’
At 7.30am the next day, day shift care arrived for its shift. At about 8.30am, Lawrence called the care coordinator and said she wanted to continue the support agreement.
Around 10.20am, Lawrence told Day Care she could go because Fox was still asleep. The caregiver was on duty until 2 p.m.
While Shevana was sleeping on her bed in the lounge, Lawrence decided she was going to be a fox and kill herself.
He strangled Fox, but changed his mind about suicide.
About 11.40am, after several minutes of panic, Lawrence called 111, telling the sender, “I just went out and strangled her. My daughter was strangled. She’s dead.”
The sender explained to Lawrence how to perform CPR. Lawrence replied, “The trouble is, I did it for that purpose.” However, he underwent CPR for about six minutes.
Shortly afterwards, an ambulance arrived and Fox was taken to the hospital. After a heart attack, he was diagnosed with a brain injury that caused him to choke.
There was no improvement in his condition and no brain injury.
She died at Hawke’s Bay Hospital on February 28.
‘Cracks in the system’
Lawrence told police she had been with her daughter most of the night and had been getting enough sleep for a long time.
He said he intended to “go and I will go”.
“Her standard of living was not there and if there was a form of death or something like that, she would have already committed suicide. It’s like losing everything all the time.”
Lawrence also said his daughter was trying to kill herself.
“She was in trouble, trying to kill herself every day, trying to catch whatever it was, but I had to clear the pile of stuff outside the house. [sic] She wanted to hurt herself and you know, when you see her every day and she didn’t want to be around. “
The summary states that Lawrence had no relevant, previous convictions.
Justice Cheryl Gwen granted bail to Lawrence.
She is due to appear in court again on November 5 for sentencing.
Where to get help:
Need to talk Call or text 1737 at any time to speak to a trained consultant for any reason.
LifelineText: 0800 543 354 or HELP 4357.
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865/0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who are thinking about suicide, or who are worried about family or friends.
Depression Helpline.: 0800 111 757 (24/7) or text 4202.
Tactical: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
What’s going on: Online chat (3pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 Helpline (12pm-10pm Saturdays, 3pm-11pm weekends)
Kids Line (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
Rural Support Trust Helpline.: 0800 787 254.
Health Line: 0800 611 116
Rainbow Youth.: (09) 376 4155.
Outline.: 0800 688 5463 (6 pm-9pm)
Call 111 if it’s an emergency and you think you or someone else is in danger.