Marilyn Lemak Then and Now

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July 12, 2022 | 26 Comments


  1. Johanna, your post is extraordinary. You framed Marilyn’s circumstances so beautifully. I have read it twice, will read it again, and have learned so much. On behalf of Marilyn, thank you. I will print and mail it to her.

    • An insanity defense is not warranted here. I know we want to treat mental illnesses but the law will only allow an insanity defense if the defendant quite literally had an inability to appreciate the criminality of the conduct. Regardless of whether Lemac thought this was what would make everyone happy (which she is now saying while lobbying for release), she knew right from wrong. As a nurse, she understood she could not just legally dole out murder and death. She deserved what she got.

      • Lora

        You are right an insanity defence is not warranted but a treatment that causes brain dysfunction as Zoloft can is a legitimate defense and this was denied her.

        Just today I was reading the medical notes of a 15 year old who knew right from wrong and was having suicidal thoughts on one of these drugs but who promised his doctor he had no intention to act on these thoughts – but did so when the dose was put up further.

        The drugs can produce an emotional numbing which means we – you and I – can lose a feel for the consequences of our actions. This was well known to Pfizer but the defense was denied to Marilyn Lemak – see the recent Clemency Hearing Post where this is laid out.

        David Healy

  2. A massive sinkhole has been created in uk where massive amounts of funding have been poured into the promise of ‘Improving Access to Therapies’a scheme promoted by a set of people with ‘connections’ and highly personal reasons for promoting them.
    see Improving Access to Psychological Therapies
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) is a National Health Service (England) initiative to provide more psychotherapy to the general population. It was developed and introduced by the Labour Party as a result of economic evaluations by Professor Lord Richard Layard, based on new therapy guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as promoted by clinical psychologist David M. Clark. The main beneficiary though is Peter Fonagay who claims to be a psychoanalyst but has never disclosed his actual qualifications. (I have asked him – no reply)and colleagues – the main losers those who believed them and considered they would be provided instead of drugs.
    British Psychological Society
    British Journal of Clinical PsychologyVolume 60, Issue 1 p. 38-41

    Ensuring that the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme does what it says on the tin
    Michael J. Scott
    First published: 16 August 2020

    I welcome the opportunity to comment on the recent paper ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) in the United Kingdom: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 10-years of practice-based evidence’ by Wakefield et al. (2020) published in the Journal. This paper is of considerable importance because the authors conclude that IAPT’s results approach the 50% recovery rate found in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and the anxiety disorders. Taken at face value, this meta-analysis provides justification for current IAPT services, which have cost the taxpayer £4 billion. Further the study could fuel the funding of not only the provision of services to more clients but accelerate the expansion of IAPT services without any diagnostic boundary. There can be no doubt that improving access to psychological therapies is an important societal aim, as only a significant minority of those with mental health problems are beneficiaries. But this is a far cry from legitimizing the tangible expression of this goal in the guise of the IAPT service.

  3. ‘In fact, Marilyn Lemak has not taken any psych meds for the past fifteen years—and she is now convinced that medication was largely responsible for her tragedy.  It was not depression over the breakup of her marriage that drove her to harm the children she loved; it was high doses of Zoloft.  Her lawyers, and several medical experts, agree.

    If they are right, how did we all get “the Lemak case” so wrong twenty years ago?

    Perhaps Janet would now like to be introduced to Katinka, along with Johanna’s great piece

    Katinka Blackford Newman

    Katinka is a BBC trained documentary film-maker who lives in London. Her interest in this subject began in 2012 when she nearly lost her life because of an adverse reaction to an antidepressant. She was hospitalised and prescribed more drugs which made her extremely ill. 

    After a year she was lucky to be taken off all the drugs and made a full recovery.

    She researched the side effects of antidepressants and interviewed some of the world’s leading experts. Her best-selling book ‘The Pill That Steals Lives’ has been featured on Radio 5 Live, BBC London, Good Morning Britain, the Victoria Derbyshire Show and in The Times, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail and The British Journal of Psychiatry. 

    In 2017 her research was made into a BBC Panorama programme  ‘A Prescription for Murder’ which investigated whether an antidepressant could be the cause of one of the worst mass killings of this century.

    Stolen Lives

    The films below may be helpful to anyone who wants to understand more about the risks of taking antidepressants.

    The aims of this site are:-
    to share stories of people who have been harmed by antidepressants and other depression medications. See Stolen Lives.
    to make people aware of the side effects of antidepressants and the difficulty of withdrawal.
    to explain that adverse reactions to antidepressants can cause suicide, violence and homicide.
    to draw attention to the potentially life threatening conditions of serotonin syndrome and akathisia.

    We are a team of people with experience of these drugs and with access to experts. We have come together to share our knowledge and experience to help people understand the risks of taking antidepressants.

  4. Thank you, Annie, for your continued good information. I read Katinka’s excellent book about a year ago and sent Marilyn a copy in prison. I’ve also sent her Dr. Healy’s books over the years. As both a former medical professional and user of Zoloft, she gets a lot from them.

  5. A strikingly similar tragedy took place in Ireland in January 2020, when Deirdre Morley suffocated her three children and tried to kill herself. Like Marilyn, she was an experienced hospital nurse and seen by all as a great mother; like her, she was said to suffer from a depressive psychosis that convinced her she and the children were doomed because of her mental illness.

    Ms. Morley had been in treatment for depression for about two years. The Irish Independent reported that she was prescribed at least five different anti-depressant drugs during that time, and that “the diagnoses she received were less serious than those reached by consultant psychiatrists after the killings.”

    Her husband, Andrew McGinley, sued the Health Service, arguing that her doctors must have failed to realize how ill she really was. If they did realize it, he said, they should have warned her family.

    In January 2022, Ms. Morley filed her own legal action against her treaters, and it appears her suit will take up the issue of whether her treatment caused and/or worsened her problems. Let’s all keep an eye on the outcome, and support their efforts to let the truth come out.

    • This is such a good call. The Morley case in Ireland was shocking. Most people whose lives have been touched by drugs, who hear about mass shootings, wonder what drug the shooter was on.

      It is the same with the Morley case – which marks a change since 1999. As with the Lemak case, Deirdre Morley’s tragedy seems to have triggered desperate responses within both her close and wider family not all of whom seem to have been able to get on the same page – especially with none of the experts mentioning the drug and all stressing psychotic depression and their credentials in treating that


      • “legally insane”

        Mr McGinley told Irish broadcaster RTÉ, that he has accepted that his wife was not in her right mind on 24 January 2020.

        “We had nearly 20 years together. Dee loved the kids,” he told RTÉ’s Prime Time.

        However, he said that he will never be able to break the connection between her and what happened.

        “I’m going to struggle with that every single day. I really am.”

        Mr McGinley said his focus was on keeping the memory of his children alive.

        “There’s tears, there’s sadness,” he added.

        “But I can’t just be tearful and sad all the time.

        “And I can’t be angry all the time, either.”

        Deirdre Morley Trial: Are juries the answer in insanity cases?

        The verdict in the Morley case came after almost four-and-a-half hours. The jurors had been given a direction that the judge would accept a majority verdict and he had again reminded them that they had to reach a verdict “in accordance with the evidence”. He told them, in this case, there was no other evidence to set against the conclusions of the expert witnesses.

        Dr Davoren will give evidence that the accused suffered from recurrent depressive disorder and Dr Wright will say that she had bipolar affective disorder, said the barrister.

        They are ‘all’ suckered-down the rabbit-hole

        In this context, ‘legally insane’ has overtures of legal insanity…

    • Two stories so tragic and so alike, can’t possibly be a coincidence. There’s only one explanation for both of them.

    • You are right Johanna, the similarities in the Marilyn Lemak and Deirdre Morley cases are striking. Both prescribed antidepressants in the run-up to these terrible tragedies. Both ended the lives of their 3 beautiful children. Both medical professionals, quite likely believing the sales puff and unaware of the terrible dangers of these drugs. Even afterwards, Deirdre Morley described a newly prescribed anti-psychotic she was taking, as a ‘wonder drug’ that she wished she had been on the previous week. I wonder what other ‘wonder drugs’ she had been prescribed in the previous weeks?

      What would happen if both juries were informed that the effects of taking these drugs can lead to tragedies like these? With leaflets including effects such as self harm, harm to others, akathisia, worsening depression, agitation, violence, suicidal thoughts, etc, etc. In my own experience, the jury at my son Shane’s inquest (and most regular people) are far more receptive to the probability of drug induced issues than the medical profession, who often expressed incredulity and indignity that I would even suggest a causal link.

      Are these women aware of each other and the similarities they share?

      • I know that Marilyn is not aware of Deidre’s story. I am visiting her next Tuesday and will tell her.

  6. “Even afterwards, Deirdre Morley described a newly prescribed anti-psychotic she was taking, as a ‘wonder drug’ that she wished she had been on the previous week. I wonder what other ‘wonder drugs’ she had been prescribed in the previous weeks?”

    Difficult to believe this but I’ve heard it myself from someone. If you give most people – psychotic or not – the minimum dose of any AP they will never voluntarily take it again. I don’t know if any of you have been locked up in a psych unit and subject to these drugs but It is incredibly dangerous, horrific at times and an out right crime.

    “are far more receptive to the probability of drug induced issues than the medical profession, who often expressed incredulity and indignity that I would even suggest a causal link.”

    They all know, no psychiatrist nor psych nurse is unaware of what they are doing – the patients and family and friends tell them in their distress – you see the newbies look of shock in their first week. But those who go in for a psych hospital career are totally confident and will say within the context of a closed culture psych hospital to the patient: we know it’s drugs. They will even lie in reply to complaints proven by trusts own documents and get away with it. Psych patients are just seen as worthless trash. But the truth is: most of what’s written on a psych patients notes is worthless trash which will do life long harm.

    • Chris – This is the sort of trash which should be put in the bin (psych wards) along with the trash which run them. Visit the UK Parliament website Anybody watching the behaviour of MP’s in parliament would be right in thinking it’s a madhouse

      House of Commons Library
      Research Briefing
      Reforming the Mental Health Act
      This paper discusses the Government’s White Paper on Reforming the Mental Health Act 1983, a summary of consultation responses and the Draft Mental Health Bill 2022.

      Documents to download
      Reforming the Mental Health Act (343 KB , PDF)

      Download full reportDownload ‘Reforming the Mental Health Act’ report (343 KB , PDF)
      The Government’s white paper on Reforming the Mental Health Act, published on 13 January 2021, contains wide-ranging proposals to reform the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended in 2007) in England and Wales.

      This briefing outlines the background to the reforms, some of the main proposals in the white paper and initial reactions. It also outlines the Government’s response to a consultation on the white paper proposals details of the draft Mental Health Bill, published in June 2022 and initial reactions to the Bill. Further information on wider mental health policy in England can be found in the Library Briefing Mental Health Policy in England.

      The white paper was preceded by an Independent Review which published its final report, Modernising the Mental Health Act, in December 2018. The purpose of the Independent Review was to understand:

      the rising rates of detention under the Mental Health Act;
      the disproportionate numbers of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME) in the detained population; and
      investigate concerns that some processes in the Act are out of step with a modern mental health system.
      The Independent Review recommended changes to the law to make it easier for patients and service users to participate in decisions about their care, to restore their dignity and recognize the importance of human rights in mental health care. The Independent Review made over 150 recommendations and the Government accepted most and incorporated them in the white paper.

      The white paper is divided into three sections – the first focuses on the legislative changes; the second outlines what policy and practice changes are required to support the new law and improve patient experiences; and the final section considers the Government’s response to the earlier Independent Review.

      The white paper includes a range of proposals to reform the Act as well as to bring about improvements in policy, practice, and service delivery. The overall aim is to bring the law in line with modern mental health care and ensure that patients are involved more closely in decisions about their care and treatment.

      Included in the proposals for legal change are plans to tighten the admission criteria and raise the threshold for compulsory detention; reduce the use of community treatment orders; strengthen some of the statutory safeguards by giving more frequent access to the tribunal to review detention; bolster support from family members and independent advocates; and enable patients to make advance choices about their future mental health care and treatment. There are also proposals designed to reduce the use of the Act for persons with a learning disability and/or on the autism spectrum, and a range of measures targeted at improving the experiences of persons from BAME groups.

      The Government consulted on the white paper proposals from January to April 2021 and published its response to the consultation in August 2021. Respondents were broadly supportive of the proposals. The Government said it would continue to work with stakeholders to refine the proposals, to make final policy decisions and develop a draft Bill.

      The Queen’s Speech in May 2022 included an announcement on draft legislation to reform the Mental Health Act. The draft Bill will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny before it is introduced in Parliament.

      Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care introduced the draft Mental Health Bill in parliament on Monday 27th June 2022. He said the Bill will “modernise legislation” and “make sure that it is fit for the future”.

      On 28th June 2022, Lord Kamall, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Health and Social Care indicated that pre-legislative scrutiny would “commence at the earliest opportunity” and the government’s ambition is “to introduce the Bill in the new year.”

      The draft Bill contains a number of amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 which would bring in the following changes:

      Autism and learning disability would not be considered to be conditions for which a person could be subject to compulsory treatment under section 3.
      Changes to the criteria for detention by setting out two new tests with a higher risk threshold
      A new definition of “appropriate medical treatment” to require that the treatment must have a reasonable prospect of alleviating, or preventing the worsening of, the patient’s mental disorder.
      A new duty on the clinician in charge of the patient’s treatment to consider certain matters and take a number of steps when deciding whether to give treatment to a patient under Part IV of the Act.
      A requirement for the clinician responsible for overseeing the patient’s care as a community patient, to be involved in decisions regarding the use and operation of the CTO.
      A new power for Mental Health Tribunal to recommend that the Responsible Clinician reconsider whether a particular CTO condition is necessary, in cases where the Tribunal has decided not to discharge a person from a CTO.
      A new statutory role, the nominated person to replace the current Nearest Relative role in the Act.
      Quicker expiry of the initial detention period under the Act and more frequent review and renewal of the detention.
      Extend the amount of time patients can apply to the Mental Health Tribunal and make automatic referrals more frequent.
      A new power of ‘supervised discharge’ and a statutory 28-day time limit for the transfer of a person from prison to hospital for treatment under the Mental Health Act.
      Expand access to an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) from only those detained under the Act, to voluntary (or ‘informal’) patients and a statutory duty on hospital managers to supply information on complaints procedures to detained patients and their Nominated Person.
      Powers to allow Mental Health Tribunals to make recommendations to the “responsible after-care body” to make plans for the discharge of a patient at a future date.
      Reforms to the identification of which particular NHS body and local authority is responsible for arranging the after-care.
      Reversal of the burden of proof, so that the local authority responsible for the guardianship must prove that the patient continues to meet the guardianship criteria in Mental Health Tribunals.
      Removal of prisons and police cells from places of safety.
      Prevention of the remand of a person for their own protection when the concerns arise from their mental health needs.
      Transfer of patients from Crown Dependencies into England and Wales for reports and treatment.
      The draft Bill has been broadly welcomed by stakeholders. However, there have been calls for investment in community social care and mental health services and the mental health workforce. Others have called for pre-legislative scrutiny to improve safeguards for children and young people and take further steps to address racial inequalities.

      Share this

      Documents to download
      Reforming the Mental Health Act (343 KB , PDF)

      Download full reportDownload ‘Reforming the Mental Health Act’ report (343 KB , PDF)

      • Thank you for that Susanne. I wrote a detailed reply and was about to submit it when my PC went totally blank. Will not chance it again.

      • If Marilyn has a computer with dvd drive, or a compact-disc player and if there was a way to put podcasts on disc, would the prison be amenable to that, do you think?

        Or is there strictly no contact with the outside world, apart from books, letters, etc. and occasional visitors?

        Give Marilyn our best wishes from the RxISK Crowd on Tuesday.

        Thanks, Janet. You are an amazing friend to Marilyn.

        • I can say in a psych ‘hospital the computer/disc player would have to have a FAT test first. In my case it took over a month before I got my electric shaver and then I wasn’t allowed to do it on my own – I was dependent on someone and if they didn’t want to do it, they didn’t, many a time they would say yes and never help and then laugh the next day. I wasn’t even allowed to shave with a blade for very many months nor cut my hair or nails.

          • There are more similarities between detention in the mental health system and detention in prison that many people realise. Deirdre Morley is a very similar situation to Marilyn Lemak which less chance to ever get drug free than Marilyn.

            Added to this ae all the people, likely more women that men, put on psych meds in their 20s or 30s who will still be on them in their 80s or 90s. The actual pill may have changed but many, and a growing number, will not be off meds ever.


          • Thank you for your input on the computer/disc player, Chris. It sounds like you were in a very challenging situation, to say the least.

        • Marilyn has a tablet. I will ask her if it is disc compatible and whether discs are allowed.

          Thank you, Annie. It’s easy to be a friend to Marilyn. I consider her a close friend.

          I wrote Marilyn in prison for nine years before she finally agreed to talk to me. I’m hoping a positive clemency hearing will be the final paragraph of the book I’m writing about her. Dr. Healy provided an excellent video to the clemency board. I spoke as did a great area attorney. Hopefully there will be a decision by the end of the year.

          Every comment on this blog has meant so much to me…it means there is one more person who knows and cares about Marilyn. I had planned to tell her all about the Rxisk Crowd tomorrow during our visit, but the prison went into lockdown due to a recent Covid spike among the inmates. She spent nearly two years straight in lockdown when the virus first appeared. It was very hard on her and her fellow inmates, to say the least.

          • This ‘situation’ of Marilyn gets more and more impressive by the day.
            Thanks for the update.

            The book will be spell-binding, and if things go the wrong way then things have taken a backward turn by not including the increasing dangerousness of drugs like Zoloft.

            “A general practitioner prescribed her the antidepressant, Zoloft.  When it didn’t help, he steadily increased it to 200mg, a very high dose.

            Shortly after that increase, she made the decision to end her life and take her children with her.”

            An awful lot of people will ‘relate’ to this, I am sure. 

  7. So long as we do not have an answer to this:

    “Dr Davoren will give evidence that the accused suffered from recurrent depressive disorder and Dr Wright will say that she had bipolar affective disorder, said the barrister.”

    And the expert witness’s who for their careers have been and ongoing are responsible for coercing and forcing drugs that cause akathisia induced suicide ideation, suicide and violence and covering up with ‘mental illness’.

    All this will just get worse and worse and worse.

    For someone who has never experienced the beginnings Akathisia it can be very difficult to pin down, when it happens very quickly it is blindlingly obvious – I took this tablet 4 hours ago and now I’m in a horrific state. But still people can think it a good idea to take another tablet – maybe I need more for it to kick-in and they end up in an horrific state.

  8. Informed consent ? snippetts

    Wiley Clinical Healthcare Hub
    Progress in Neurology and PsychiatryVolume 25, Issue 4 p. 8-10
    Case note
    Free Access
    Psychiatric pathology potentially induced by COVID-19 vaccine
    Kris Roberts BSc, MBChB, PGCert MedEd,Nittu Sidhu MBBS, MD Psych (IND) … See all authors
    First published: 08 November 2021
    BMC Medicine

    Open Access
    Published: 15 July 2020
    Safety of psychotropic medications in people with COVID-19: evidence review and practical recommendations
    Giovanni Ostuzzi, Davide Papola, Corrado Barbui
    BMC Medicine volume 18, Article number: 215 (2020) Cite this article


    This article has been updated
    The novel coronavirus pandemic calls for a rapid adaptation of conventional medical practices to meet the evolving needs of such vulnerable patients. People with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) may frequently require treatment with psychotropic medications, but are at the same time at higher risk for safety issues because of the complex underlying medical condition and the potential interaction with medical treatments.
    is here! Learn more about navigating our updated article layout. The PMC legacy view will also be available for a limited time.

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    Basic Clin Neurosci. 2020 Mar-Apr; 11(2): 185–200. Published online 2020 Apr 27. doi: 10.32598/bcn.11.covid19.2500.1
    PMCID: PMC7368108PMID: 32855778
    Drug Interactions of Psychiatric and COVID-19 Medications
    Niayesh Mohebbi,1,2 Ali Talebi,1 Marjan Moghadamnia,1 Zahra Nazari Taloki,1 and Alia Shakiba3,*
    Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer
    This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

    Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a pandemic with 1771514 cases identified in the world and 70029 cases in Iran until April 12, 2020. The co-prescription of psychotropics with COVID-19 medication is not uncommon. Healthcare providers should be familiar with many Potential Drug-Drug Interactions (DDIs) between COVID-19 therapeutic agents and psychotropic drugs based on cytochrome P450 metabolism. This review comprehensively summarizes the current literature on DDIs between antiretroviral drugs and chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine, and psychotropics, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and anxiolytics.

  9. “Thank you for your input on the computer/disc player, Chris. It sounds like you were in a very challenging situation, to say the least.”

    Welcome and Yes, it got far worse and I can not reiterate it on here. Am also now profiled – when I walk in to any shop with face recognition an alarm goes off. I have no criminal convictions at all and have never stolen from any shop. everything that happened to me was caused firstly by my own family and then rocket boosted by psychiatric drugs, and psych abuse under the guise of ‘care’.

    The ‘health’ trust was recently given a ‘good’ rating. This comes after three people locked in those cells escaped and killed themselves on motoways.

    My emails are monitored anything suspicious in their terms I get a call to go see a GP for questioning and no doubt what I post on here as well. The abuse only stopped when it became known to these ‘carers’ that my art work had been exhibited in notable art venues such as local Museum and Art Galleries.

    But clearly it’s been far far worse for the others mentioned here.

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