A mother who drugged her daughter and suffocated her son was "happy" and "smiling" with medical staff afterwards, Crown prosecutors say.

The woman, whose name is suppressed, is standing trial in the High Court at Auckland, facing eight charges of ill treatment or neglect of a child.

The abuse spanned close to five years, as the mother took her children for more than 100 unnecessary medical check-ups beginning from 2011, prosecutor Mark Harborow said while closing the Crown case on Monday.

He said the woman seemed to enjoy the attention people gave her when she had sick children and so began taking her first-born daughter for check-ups, claiming the girl suffered fever and rashes.


But as medical experts were unable to discover what was wrong, the woman then claimed her daughter was suffering more serious conditions, including seizures and ataxia, whereby a person loses control of their limbs.

To make it look like her daughter had ataxia, the woman overdosed the girl on medicine and filmed her in a drugged state so she could show it to doctors, Harborow said.

Her actions became even more serious with the birth of her son. She twice
suffocated her infant son and then used her phone to video him "as he lay lifeless, struggling to breathe", Harborow said.

The boy was subsequently taken out of her care as police investigated, but the woman still took an opportunity during a supervised visit to secretly feed him a button battery - common in electronics, such as toys - prosecutors said.

Numerous doctors and medical staff testified during the trial that the woman appeared unusually "cheerful and happy" on the many occasions she arrived with children she claimed were seriously ill.

She appeared to thrive on "the buzz of the emergency" and would spend her time socialising with other patients and hanging around the nurse's station, Harborow said.

To seemingly gain further sympathy and attention, the woman would then go home and "text everybody" and write posts on Facebook detailing her children's illnesses, he said.

He also said psychiatrists had been unable to agree that the mother had a debilitating anxiety that made her react in an over-protective way as her defence lawyer Susan Gray had claimed.

Ultimately, Harborow said, the woman would end up getting more attention than she envisaged as the police and now prosecutors accuse her of criminally neglecting her children.

• The woman in this story cannot be named or her picture shown by order of the High Court.