A woman in Wales who tried to name her twins Cyanide and Preacher has had her choice overturned by courts in the first case of its kind.

The mother in Powys, who has been diagnosed with mental health problems, told the Court of Appeal that Cyanide was a “lovely, pretty name” for her little girl, which can be positively associated with the deaths of Hitler and Goebbels.

She defended her choice of Cyanide, and Preacher for her son, arguing that it was her human right as a mother to name her children.


A judge prevented the woman from formally registering the children’s names in June last year. She contested the decision, but three Appeal Court judges upheld the injunction on the grounds that the “unusual” choices might harm the kids.

Instead, the names of both twins, who are currently in foster care, will be chosen by their elder half-siblings.

The court heard how their mother was plagued by mental illness, substance abuse and abusive relationships.

The twins, thought to have been “conceived as a result of rape,” had been taken into care along with their mother’s three other children.

When Powys County Council social workers discovered her choice of names for the two tots, they referred the case to a family court.

In the subsequent appeal, lawyers representing the mother argued that the injunction violated her right to respect for family life.

The mother told the court that Cyanide is a name related to flowers and plants, and was “responsible for killing Hitler and Goebbels and I consider that this was a good thing.”

She described Preacher as a “rather cool name” with a “strong spiritual” message, which would “stand my son well for the future.”

But Lady Justice King, Lady Justice Gloster and Lord Justice David Richards ruled that, “even allowing for changes in taste, fashion and developing individual perception,” the choice of Cyanide was unacceptable.

Although they found that Preacher was not as damaging as Cyanide, the judges ruled that it was in the interest of the children that both names be changed.

The case is the first of its kind in the UK, and Lady Justice King confirmed that courts will only prevent name choices “in the most extreme cases.”


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