Kaela Mehl, shown outside Victoria Law Courts, is on trial for the first degree murder of her 18-month-old daughter Charlotte, who died in September 2015. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

MURDER TRIAL: Kaela Mehl had a mental disorder when she killed daughter, forensic psychologist

Kaela Mehl may have killed Charlotte in an attempt to protect her, doctor testifies

Kaela Mehl had a mental disorder at the time she killed her daughter, most likely in a misguided attempt to protect her, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Shabehram Lohrasbe testified at the Victoria Law Courts this morning.

Jeremy Mills provided opening statements in Mehl’s defence, who is charged with first degree murder in the death of 18-month-old Charlotte Cunningham. Mehl caused Charlotte’s death by feeding her the sleeping pill Zopiclone mixed in yogurt and smothering her, before overdosing from a potentially fatal dose of Zopiclone herself.

RELATED: First responders describe gruesome Victoria crime scene to jury

“At the time Charlotte Cunningham died, Miss Mehl was in an abnormal mental state,” he testified. “I came to the opinion that at the time she did have a mental disorder.”

Altruistic filicide, Lohrasbe said, can happen when a person in a time of extraordinary distress, kills their child to protect them.

More to come.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

Read Victoria News’ coverage of the Kaela Mehl murder trial

Oct. 4: Kaela Mehl guilty of first degree murder, sentenced to life in prison

Oct. 4: First degree murder conviction requires killing be planned and deliberate

Oct. 3: Jury must determine degree of planning in killing of toddler

Sept 28: Crown challenges psychiatrist as defence wraps in Mehl murder case

Sept: 27: Drafted suicide note revealed Mehl’s mental state: psychiatrist

Sept: 26: Victoria woman hired P.I. during custody battle

Sept. 21: Victoria woman had a mental disorder when she killed daughter: psychiatrist

Sept. 19: First responders describe gruesome Victoria crime scene to jury

Sept. 16: Mehl murder trial: “She was a good mother”

Sept. 14: Emotional day in Kaela Mehl trial as defendant’s suicide email read aloud

Sept. 13: Saanich police cautioned couple night before toddler was found dead

Sept. 12: Victoria mom charged with toddler’s murder weeps listening to recording of daughter crying

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