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Tue 25 Aug 2020 13.33 BST
Ten-year-old Dylan Freeman died on Sunday 16 August after his airways had been restricted by a sponge, West London coroner’s court heard.
His mother and primary carer, Olga Freeman, appeared at the Old Bailey last week accused of his murder.
The senior coroner Chinyere Inyama, opening the inquest on Tuesday morning, said the mother had recently been prescribed antidepressant tablets. He said Dylan had autism, Cohen syndrome – which affects many parts of the body – and other issues.
Inyama said: “His mother appeared to be his sole and primary carer. She had recently been put on antidepressants. His mother called a friend in the early hours to state to the friend that she killed her son.”
He said the mother and her friend went to Acton police station in west London and told them what had happened.
Police and paramedics went to Dylan’s home in Acton where he was found dead. The coroner said it appeared he had been administered a sleeping aid and had a sponge placed in his mouth, tied with a strap.
His body was identified four days later by his head teacher.
The preliminary cause of death was given as restriction of the airways.
There was no other evidence of injuries caused by assault or restraint, the coroner said during the eight-minute hearing.
Inyama adjourned the inquest until March 2021, pending the outcome of any legal proceedings.
Dylan’s father, the photographer Dean Freeman who said he has been divorced from Dylan’s mother for a number of years and was in Spain at the time of his son’s death, last week described his son as “a beautiful, bright, inquisitive and artistic child who loved to travel, visit art galleries and swim”.
The mother is due to appear for a plea and trial preparation hearing at the Old Bailey on 4 November.
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Mother who suffocated disabled son sentenced to indefinite hospital order — (Sky News)
Thursday 11 February 2021 14:35, UK
Olga Freeman is said to have developed “psychotic symptoms” after coming under severe stress.
Image: Olga Freeman and her son Dylan
Olga Freeman has been sentenced to a hospital order after killing her son Dylan. Pics: PA/Facebook
A mother who suffocated her disabled 10-year-old son during lockdown has been sentenced to a hospital order without limit of time.
Olga Freeman, 40, killed her son Dylan at their home in Acton, west London, on 15 August last year.
She admitted manslaughter and today appeared at the Old Bailey via video link for sentencing.
Describing the case as “rare and desperately sad”, the judge said the burden of looking after Dylan had taken its toll on Freeman.
Olga Freeman was married to celebrity photographer Dean Freeman. Pic: Facebook
Image: A court heard Freeman had suffered a mental breakdown. Pic: Facebook
Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said the mother had been left “at her wits’ end” and “exhausted” by the summer of 2020.
Dylan had been diagnosed with autism, global neurodevelopmental delay and progressive myopia, and had significant difficulties with his speech and communication.
He needed round-the-clock care and had been attending a special school five days a week but was unable to go during lockdown.
Russian-born Freeman had a history of depression and had struggled more with her son during the pandemic until she suffered a mental breakdown, the court heard.
Psychiatrist Dr Martin Lock found Freeman “developed psychotic symptoms when under very heavy stress because of the COVID-19 lockdown”.
Last August, the mother walked into a police station to report she had killed her son.
Police later found Dylan’s body in his bedroom, surrounded by his toys.
A post-mortem found he died from restriction of the airways after pieces of sponge were stuffed in his mouth.
Speaking at the sentencing, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb told Freeman: “I have no doubt at all that you were a remarkably loving and dedicated mother to a vulnerable child until multiple pressures overwhelmed you and your mind was swamped by a destructive illness with florid psychotic elements.
“To some unknowable extent, it should be recognised that Dylan was an indirect victim of interruption to normal life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.