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U.K. court: mother cannot name daughter ‘Cyanide’

Though Cyanide was a "lovely, pretty name" to the mentally-ill woman, the judges did not think so.

April 15, 2016 01:47 pm | Updated October 18, 2016 03:07 pm IST - LONDON:

A mother cannot name her daughter ’Cyanide’, a British court has ruled in a landmark case, saying her unusual choice might harm her children.

The woman, who also chose the name Preacher for the girl’s twin brother, insisted that she had a right to name her own children. But the mother, from Powys, Wales, was thwarted by top judges on Thursday.

First such case

In the first case of its kind, Appeal Court judges ruled that it was an “extreme” case and that the mother’s “unusual” choices might harm her children.

The mother has a chaotic history of mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse and relationships with abusive men, said Lady Justice King.

The twins, who are infants, and two of their half-siblings are now living with foster parents, the Wales Online has reported.

Don’t say what is a name

When Powys County Council social workers learnt of the names the mother had chosen for the twins, they took the case to court in an unprecedented step.

In June last year, a judge issued an injunction against the mother, forbidding her from formally registering the twins’ unorthodox forenames. Her lawyers appealed, insisting that the refusal to let her name her own children violated her right to respect for family life.

‘Don’t do that to a little girl’

Lady Justice King, sitting with Lady Justice Gloster and Lord Justice David Richards, said that naming a little girl after a “notorious poison” was simply unacceptable.

Although there was nothing seriously objectionable about the name Preacher, she ruled that both twins’ names should be chosen by their older half-siblings.

While ruling in the landmark case, the judge said that “even allowing for changes in taste, fashion and developing individual perception,” ‘Cyanide’ was a very odd name to give to a baby girl.

The mother said Preacher was a “rather cool name” which sent a “strong spiritual” message and which would “stand my son well for the future.”

To the woman, it is a pretty name

Cyanide, she said, was a “lovely, pretty name” and had positive connotations as the poison which ended the lives of both Hitler and his aide Paul Goebbels.

Justice King said the courts would intervene to prevent a parent naming a child “in only the most extreme cases.”

But she ruled, “This is one of those rare cases where the court should intervene to protect the girl twin from emotional harm that I am satisfied she would suffer if called Cyanide.”

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