A former cult leader who starved his own baby to death now says he regrets the murder.

“I essentially became a compartmentalised sociopath,” Jacques Robidoux told CBS Boston. “Once the realisation came that ‘Holy God, I killed my own son. How did this even happen?’ So then everything begins to start. Everything begins to unravel.”

Robidoux was convicted in 2002 of murdering his 11-month-old son, Samuel, by refusing to feed him anything other than his mother’s breast milk. At the time, he was the leader of a religious cult in Attleboro, Massachusetts, and he believed the baby would be damned if he ate anything else.

“In order to serve God, in order to save my family, in order to save my son who essentially was dying … I had to go through with this,” Robidoux told CBS.

Prosecutors said the father not only starved the child, but “told other members of his cult to ignore Samuel’s pain.”

In April 1999, Samuel died. About a year later, police found the baby’s body in Baxter State Park, Maine, where Robidoux had secretly buried it.

Robidoux was charged with first degree murder and tried in 2002. After only a nine-day trial, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Behind bars, Robidoux says he’s gradually regained his sanity.

“That big unravelled ball of yarn – it’s taken quite a few years to unravel it, but every time I do, it’s freeing,” he said.

Judy Pardon, who runs a treatment centre for former cult members, says Robidoux now knows what he did was wrong.

“He knows now that God was not involved in that decision about Samuel,” Ms Pardon told CBS. “But at the time he certainly believed it.”

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