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Supporters plan protests over ‘desperate mum’s’ jail sentence

Blenheim mother Donella Knox is serving a four year jail sentence for murdering her autistic daughter last May.

Donella Knox is serving a four year jail sentence for murdering her autistic daughter

Supporters of Donella Knox, who was found guilty for murdering her autistic child last May, say they’ll take to the streets in protest against the Blenheim mother's jail sentence.

Donella Knox (49) was sentenced to four years jail in December by the High Court in Blenheim after she was found guilty of murdering her severely disabled daughter.

The case can only be reported on now, because legal suppressions have been lifted.

According to reports, Donella Knox gave her 20-year-old daughter sedatives and then suffocated her.

It is understood Knox had been struggling with daughter Ruby's autism and deteriorating health. Knox also claimed health systems had failed them both.

Sharna Butcher, friend and supporter of the convicted woman said prolonged difficulties faced by families and caregivers is not uncommon, and there are people who find themselves in situations where they feel forgotten about or ignored by health and care systems, NZME reports.

“There’s not enough support and these cases are going to continue happening otherwise.

Butcher said she was planning a march "that will line the streets" in the next two weeks across all the main centres. A date and time has yet to be confirmed.

Knox's self-published book *Rubies and Pearls* describes her rage and desperation over attempts to find help for her daughter's condition. Photo: Supplied
Knox's self-published book Rubies and Pearls describes her rage and desperation over attempts to find help for her daughter's condition. Photo: Supplied

RNZ reports Knox had been the sole carer for Ruby her entire life.

At the hearing, her lawyer Simon Shamy said Ruby was severely autistic and was intellectually disabled. She could not speak and was prone to violent outbursts.

Shamy also said both mother and daughter loved each other very much, and had no one but each other.

“The level of pain and suffering that Ms Knox has undergone for 20 years on her own and now for the rest of her life is unparalled in my experience," he said.

Knox received a six year prison sentence, which Justice Joe Williams said would be reduced to four years because of her guilty plea, good behaviour and low probability of offending again.

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