A woman from South Wales drowned her two-year-old son in the bath because she "believed" that her family had been possessed by demons and that she had to protect her son from them.

Natalie Steele, 32, has been detained under the mental health act. She denied murder, but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility after two forensic psychiatrists declared that Steele had been mentally ill when she killed her son.

She was arrested after her son, Reid Steele, was found unresponsive at their house in Parkwood Heights in Bridgend in August last year.

According to her family, Natalie Steele was a "devoted" mother and had taken the baby for a bath in the evening when the incident occurred. As per prosecutor Michael Jones QC, the woman had been behaving "oddly," in the days leading up to the incident and had spoken about seeing and hearing things.

A psychiatrist's report said that the 32-year-old mother had been suffering from "unrecognised, undiagnosed and untreated mental illness," and had been "so deluded that she drowned her son to protect him from demons and send him to heaven."

The woman had even messaged her friend Heidi Ackland after the incident. "I've done something terrible, I had to protect Reid from my family," read the message to Ackland from Steele, according to a report in The Independent.

Steele told police officers that her mother, step-father and siblings had "big eyes and contorted" faces and that they were possessed by demons. She had even refused to eat while she was in prison stating that she had to fast for 40 days so she could join her son. She had to be admitted to hospital eventually.

Steele was detained under the Mental Health Act at Cardiff Crown Court and given an indefinite hospital order. "It is a profound human tragedy that it was you, who loved him so dearly, that caused that loss of life," said Judge Michael Fitton QC while delivering the judgment.

"I accept that you did so when you were suffering from a severe and serious mental illness," the judge added.

Representational image. Photo: Pixabay