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US woman who killed 3 children jailed for 16 years

AP News
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Posted: Apr 27, 2011 9:44 AM
US woman who killed 3 children jailed for 16 years

An American woman who stabbed her three children to death in Scotland amid a custody battle with their father was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years in prison.

Theresa Riggi admitted killing 8-year-old twins Austin and Luke and their 5-year-old sister Cecilia. She pleaded guilty to culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Her lawyer, Donald Findlay, said she was suffering from narcissistic, paranoid and hysterical personality disorders and acute stress.

Judge Alastair Campbell told Riggi that "while your responsibility is diminished, you are still responsible for your actions."

"It is clear that any degree of responsibility for such ghastly and grotesque acts must be visited with a lengthy sentence of imprisonment," the judge said.

The children's bodies were found in August after a gas explosion at their Edinburgh apartment.

Their 47-year-old mother, originally from Bakersfield, California, was hospitalized after jumping from an upper-floor balcony. She was found to have self-inflicted stab wounds.

Riggi and her husband, American oil industry executive Pasquale Riggi, were getting divorced and contesting the custody of their children at the time of the killings.