Why Fathers Kill

Double Standard Between Fathers and Mothers Who Kill

Brown noted that despite the shock expressed by families, friends and relatives, fathers who kill their families have problems before the slayings that they either hid well or were ignored. Often, she said, they come off as devoted family men but are living a lie. They secretly may not relish their family life, may be disappointed in the way their lives have turned out and grow to see their wives and children as obstacles to goals and desires — and the reasons for setbacks.

"It goes to show that a guy can father a child, but that doesn't make him a father," Brown said. "But he comes off as cherishing his role because it makes him look good to others. Maybe he is frustrated with the way his life has turned out and instead of seeing his wife and children as the loving support group that they are, he grows to see them as a burden, the cause of his problems, and getting in the way of the things he really wants to do."

When mothers have killed or harmed their children, postpartum depression and other mental illnesses such as Munchausen syndrome by proxy — in which a mother intentionally harms her child or fabricates a child's illness to draw attention to herself — have been frequently cited. But though the reasons and circumstances surrounding their killings may differ, fathers and mothers, Brown said, lash out for one essential reason: to regain a level of power and control they believe was taken from them.

Still, fathers who kill are much less sympathetic to juries than mothers who kill.

"People think, 'Oh, she must have been crazy. She must have been out of her mind to do such a thing,'" Brown said. "We'll give a guy the death penalty in a second, but women will come away with lighter sentences, like life in prison."

It is uncertain how long Neil Entwistle's extradition back to the United States will take. He is expected to appear before a magistrate in London on Friday, and to decide whether to waive or challenge his extradition.

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