The state’s case against a mother who’s charged with failing to avert her daughter’s death by starvation was postponed for a week on Tuesday, after the mother herself all but collapsed in the courtroom. She was later admitted to a local hospital, apparently suffering from exhaustion.
Defendant Camilla Lem Heggelund was driven away from the courthouse in Gjøvik in an ambulance, less than two hours after the second day of the trial began Tuesday morning. She had already demanded breaks to test her blood sugar levels and to lie down and rest before the judge in the case ordered the postponement. The trial that began on Monday is now not due to resume until May 2.
The mother is charged with severe child abuse after her daughter, 13-year-old Angelica, died at the family’s cabin in the mountains at Beitostølen on New Year’s Eve 2015. The girl had suffered from eating disorders and weighed just over 20 kilos (44 pounds) at the time of her death.
“Both I and the whole family are so traumatized by this case,” Heggelund testified before she broke down in court. “To sit here yesterday and talk about this, it brings … I am so exhausted …” She later seemed unable to complete her sentences and she failed to answer questions posed by the judge. She earlier has blamed her daughter’s anorexia on bullying and a lack of assistance from state welfare agencies.
Her defense attorney said it was unclear whether the woman will be able to answer prosecutors’ questions later. “We’ll have to wait and see,” Aasmund O Sandland told reporters. “The main thing is that she must be healthy enough to defend herself.”