I caused controversy with my last book, Youthful Prey, which profiled British, American and European paedophiles. `No one wants to read about such a horrible subject’ a couple of my previously-faithful readers said. But I’d obtained a rare interview with the detective who set up Britain’s Paedophile Unit and who subsequently went underground, pretending to be a child molester, in order to entrap hundreds of these men. As such, I was able to put together a chapter showing the many lures that paedophiles use to win a child’s trust and ensure his or her silence and surely it’s better than parents arm themselves with such knowledge rather than burying their heads in the sand?

I know that I’ll encounter similar disapproval with my new book, Parents Who Kill, as apparently there is a small but vocal minority of the population which refuses to believe that a mother could ever kill her own baby. They insist on seeing such cases as miscarriages of justice, even if the woman later admits to suffocating the child.

But such cases form a small part of a book which looks at everything from fathers and mothers who deliberately killed their older children for the insurance money to couples who refused to seek medical help for their dying offspring because they believed that only a deity had the right to intervene. I also examine honour killings where fathers, often acting in tandem with the extended family, murdered their beautiful daughters rather than allow them to lead independent lives.

These – and the cases where a father slaughtered his beloved family in order to devastate his ex-wife – were the most shocking cases to research as, given a different mindset, everyone involved could have lived a long and happy life.

The case of British engineer Neil Entwistle was particularly sad as, superficially, he had it all – a lovely American wife, a baby daughter, an impressive house, upmarket car and even a designer dog. But it was all built on shifting sand as he had run up debts and was living beyond his means. Without warning, he fled back to his native England and detectives discovered his wife and baby shot to death. Much was made by the defence of the fact that gunpowder residue had been found on his wife’s body but not on the steering wheel of his car but I interviewed a crime scene investigator who satisfactorily explained how this situation could arise.

Youthful Prey and Parents Who Kill by Carol Anne Davis are both published by Pennant Books as paperback originals.

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