Updated 14 June 2017

ADHD drives father to kill 2-month old daughter

A young man has pleaded guilty to murdering his own daughter after "losing control" due to mental illness


Tyler Vallance pleaded guilty today on the charge of murdering his own daughter, Isabella, who was just two months old at the time. 

Vallance also suffers from Tourette's syndrome and is likely to claim that the combination of the two conditions caused him to momentarily lose control. He was also charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm. The case was heard at Worcester Crown Court in the UK.

Read: What fuels family murder?

While the exact cause of death is unknown, it was reported that the girl was admitted to hospital on December 7, 2012 where she then died 5 days later. Mr. Vallance was just 19 at the time. The child's mother, Jessica Wiggins, was 17.

Ms. Wiggins is also facing a charge of child cruelty and causing or allowing the death of a child. As the pair are being tried as adults, they could spend life in prison, though much of this depends on the judge's analysis of Vallance's state of mind at the time of the attack. Detention in a psychiatric hospital is also a distinct possibility. 

Read: Asperger's, Autism no excuse for mass murderers

Christopher Hotton QC prosecuting said that the prosecution's view was that it was "overwhelmingly likely that each occurred over a short period of time in a momentary loss of control by somebody with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Tourette's."

Tourette's is a very varied disease which can present itself through small signs such as facial twitches, vocal outbursts or behavioural swings. When combined with ADHD the possibilty exists for both conditions to experience severe flares at the same time, resulting in a loss of control.

Read more:
More mothers are killing their children

4 year-old beaten to death by mother for "being gay"

Source: Daily Mail/BBC/Redditch Standard


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Dr Renata Schoeman has been in full-time private practice as a general psychiatrist (child, adolescent and adult psychiatry) since 2008, currently based in Oude Westhof (Bellville). Renata also holds appointments as senior lecturer in Leadership (USB) and as a virtual faculty member of USB Executive Development’s Neuroleadership programme. She serves on the advisory boards of various pharmaceutical companies, as a director of the Psychiatric Management Group (PsychMG) and is the co-convenor of the South African Society of Psychiatrist (SASOP) special interest group for adult ADHD, and co-founder of the Goldilocks and The Bear Foundation ( She is passionate about corporate mental health awareness and uses her neuroscience background to assist leaders in equipping them to become balanced, healthy and dynamic leaders that take their own and their team’s emotional, intellectual, social health and physical needs into account. Renata is academically active and enjoys research and collaborative work, has published in many peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at local and international congresses. She is regularly invited to present at conferences and to engage with the media. During her post-graduate studies, she trained at Harvard, Boston in neurocognition and neuroimaging. Her awards include, amongst others, the Young Minds in Psychiatry award from the American Psychiatric Association, the Discovery Foundation Fellowship award, a Thuthuka award from the NRF, and a MRC Fellowship. She also received the Top MBA student award and the Director’s award from USB for 2015. She was a finalist for the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa’s Businesswoman of the Year Award for 2016, and received the Excellence in Media Work award from SASOP during 2016.

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