Mum admits killing disabled son, 10, after suffering a mental breakdown while struggling to care for him
A mother has admitted killing her disabled 10-year-old boy after suffering a mental breakdown while struggling to care for him during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The woman, Olga Freeman, 40, was charged with the murder of Dylan Freeman, who was found dead at their home in Cumberland Park, Acton, west London, on August 15 last year.
According to Wales Online, the boy, who had significant difficulties with language, communication, self-help, and independence, was found in the master bedroom of the house lying on his back covered by a duvet with parts of a sponge in his throat and toys had been placed beside him.
At the time of his death, his father, the celebrity photographer Dean Freeman, was in Spain.
The court previously heard that the mother’s friend, Edita Surpickaja, said Freeman had struggled to meet Dylan’s needs as he got older and her mental health had deteriorated.
Days before Dylan’s death, Ms. Surpickaja said Freeman made a worrying comment about being “the second Jesus”. On August 15 the friend spent part of the day helping with Dylan’s care, and was called by Freeman in the evening asking her to return to the ‘Acton home.’
Freeman was insisting she had to go to Jerusalem, before admitting she had killed her son and it was “best for him”. She added: “This is my job: to sacrifice my beloved child to create a balance in this world.”
She later confessed to police that she used a bra and her hands to kill her son, and had also put a piece of sponge in his throat to stop him from breathing.
“She had then placed his body where he liked to sleep with his toys to allow him to die with ‘dignity and kindness’”, the prosecutor said Freeman had told officers.
Kristen Katsouris, from the CPS said: “This was a tragic death of a child at the hands of his mother who was struggling to cope.
“Olga Freeman had loved and cared for Dylan for many years, but the strain and pressures of her son’s severe and complex special needs had built up and that combined with her impaired mental health led to heart-breaking consequences.”
Her lawyer, Jane Bickerstaff QC, told the court that “the three psychiatrists all agree that the defendant’s responsibility at the time of the act of the killing was diminished and at a low level, for the reason she was suffering from a depressive illness with psychotic symptoms in the lead-up to the offence”,
She also suggested the appropriate sentence would be a hospital order with restrictions.
At a virtual hearing on Monday at the Old Bailey, Russian national Freeman denied her son’s murder but admitted manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.
“The three psychiatrists all agree that the defendant’s responsibility at the time of the act of the killing was diminished and at a low level, for the reason she was suffering from a depressive illness with psychotic symptoms in the lead-up to the offence”, said Jane Bickerstaff QC, representing Freeman.
The father, who was away in Spain in August last year, was “beyond devastated” by his son’s death and said in a statement: “Dylan was a beautiful, bright, inquisitive and artistic child who loved to travel, visit art galleries and swim.
“We travelled extensively over the years together spending such memorable time in places including Brazil, France and Spain. I can’t begin to comprehend his loss.”
Mrs Justice Cheema Grubb adjourned sentencing until next month when she will consider detaining Freeman in hospital for mental health treatment.