Parents Who Kill: Murderers of Newborn, Pre-Teen and Teenage Children has case studies of British, American and European killers and a chapter which offers solutions. It includes exclusive interviews with an internationally recognised psychiatrist, a British crime scene investigator, the editor of a newspaper which covered one of Scotland’s worst family killers and a top American true crime author.

What makes a mother sequentially kill her pre-school children or a father murder his much-loved son in a blitzkrieg attack?  Why would a supposedly loving couple fatally discipline their only child in front of witnesses? Society is baffled by such murders – murders which Parents Who Kill describes and explains.

The book is divided into four sections: Murderous Mothers, Fatal Fathers, Homicidal Couples and Reality Check.

Each chapter in Murderous Mothers looks at a particular type of child-murder, from Tell No One where frightened girls conceal their pregnancy and kill the baby at birth, to Capital Gains where women deliberately suffocate their offspring to collect the insurance money.

Similarly, in Fatal Fathers, there are chapters on everything from family killers (who obliterate their spouse, children and sometimes even their parents or in-laws) to so-called honour killings where a liberal teenage daughter is targeted.

The section on Homicidal Couples includes landmark cases where the woman was charged for failing to protect her child from her violent husband, as well as cases where both parents were equally sadistic, negligent or insane.

The final hope-giving section posits solutions and includes insight from parenting experts.

Paperback updated with the Mick and Mairead Philpott case published August 2013 by John Blake Publishing Ltd.
ISBN-10 1782197281    ISBN-13 978-1782197287    Price £7.99

Parents Who Kill Reviews:

'For many people, the thought of killing a child is abhorrent, something beyond their comprehension. Yet every year thousands of children worldwide die at the hands of their parents through neglect, abuse, or deliberate acts of premeditated murder. Parents who kill chronicles the stories of parents who have killed their children through neglect, through severe physical abuse, through religious perversion, and deliberate acts of murder for profit or revenge. The stories are mainly from the United Kingdom and the United States, but there are a scattering of other stories too. The author has read extensively from newspapers and published works, as well as interviewing some authors and journalists to create an insightful look into parents who kill their children. What could easily have become a blood drenched horror is instead an insightful look into what drives people to commit such horrible acts against children. Broken down into sections the book examines similar murders and killings as a group - mothers who kill to keep their boyfriends, mercy killings, postnatal depression killings, revenge against partners who leave, religious beliefs taken to extremes or otherwise perverted, and parents who kill to claim insurance money. While the majority of the cases described are very brief, the author manages to take you inside the minds and world of the killers to show the motivations for what they did. Sadly too many of the cases also show the failings of the social services involved, with multiple children dying in horrible circumstances because the social service agencies lack the teeth to act or failed to follow through on reports of abuse. I have read quite a few books recently about neglected children or children who have been abused by their parents and it is a horrible topic to read about, but it is also important to be aware that not everyone is cut out to be a parent and that some people have children for the wrong reasons. Carol Anne Davis makes some blunt recommendations at the end of the book and raises some ideas that as a society we need to be aware of - children need to be protected from abuse is one of them, but it also raises the idea that society has a responsibility to react in more appropriate ways to women who show severe signs of postnatal depression, and that we need to forget the illusion that the bond between mothers and infants is instant and magical. What could have become a preachy book is instead an eye opening one that I am glad I read, although some of the stories made me sick to the stomach and I had to put the book down a few times because the stories were just too much to keep reading. I have seen the results of child abuse first hand, and in New Zealand there is a tragic history of children killed by parents or caregivers - some of which are achingly familiar when reading the stories in Parents who kill. I would recommend to anyone working in a social work, school, or other public facility read this book so they can understand some of the warning signs and hopefully act on them rather than wait until it is too late. Take your time reading Parents who kill and take a break when you need to. If you read this book and want to read other stories from people who have lived through difficult experiences and trauma, then try:'

  • Child C: Surviving a foster mothers reign of terror by Christopher Spry
  • Punished by Vanessa Steel
  • Etched in sand by Regina Calcaterra
  • A child named It by Dave Pelzer
  • Broken by Shy Keenan
  • Damaged by Cathy Glass
  • When rabbit howls by Truddi Chase
  • The little prisoner: A memoir by Jane Eliott
  • Sickened: The memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood by Julie Gregory


`Parents Who Kill examines twenty four different types of homicidal parent, from tell-no-one young mothers to insurance killers to those who kill by mistake whilst trying to induce illness in their offspring to gain the attention of doctors and nurses. Includes interviews with a top American psychiatrist and a British Crime Scene investigator, explaining the gun residue findings in the Neil Entwistle case.'

Mystery Women

‘Just finished this book. The author, an England-based Scottish writer, has written several books on crime. Her chosen topics so far are: children who kill, women who kill, couples who kill and, now, parents who kill.

In this book, she covers (inter alia) parents who kill in the UK, US, Australia and France and looks at every issue from the abused child becoming an abuser to honour killings to mercy killings to score-settling to psychosis to neglect.

She isn't Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Lawrence Schiller or Brian Masters but she is at least comparable to Ann Rule.

Anyway, it's a dark, disturbing book which at the very least adds to the debate on parents who kill.

Now I know Carol best as a writer of spine-tingling crime novels such as Shrouded and Sob Story but she is probably more widely known for her work in the True Crime field, which I admit scares the hell out of me more than her fiction does.

As usual, Carol manages to get some amazing interviews and casts her usual compassionate eye on a subject which in less caring hands would be easily sensationalised. This is a serious case history of infanticide, surely the most incomprehensible of crimes, rather than the screaming tabloid headlines and a worthy study of an awful subject.

Mike Ripley, Shots

Carol Anne Davis’s style is light and it is concise. There is no rambling, no off topic discussions or personal analysis of the mental state of women in each case. True to her many other true crime books, her writing is fluid and accurate, based around the facts of each case but put together in such a way that makes a riveting read.

- Crime Traveller website