Monday, 30 May 2011

FILICIDE (charged): Wales: Jury finds Yvonne Freaney not guilty of son's murder

A MOTHER who killed her severely disabled son as she fled from an abusive marriage showed no emotion as a jury found her not guilty of his murder.
Yvonne Freaney, 49, who was homeless after eventually walking out on a violent husband, had always admitted strangling 11-year-old Glen to death in a rented hotel room.
Her defence team said she did it while suffering from an abnormality of mind while under stress, suicidal and suffering from a personality disorder.
Defence barrister John Charles Rees QC told the jurors: “She was a battered wife but her way of solving her problem wasn’t to kill Mr Freaney but to kill herself and their son.”
She told police officers who found the child’s body, surrounded by his favourite soft toys at the Sky Plaza Hotel in Rhoose, last year: “I had to do it – no one else could look after him.
“My husband wouldn’t have been able to cope and it would have been cruel to leave him behind.
“I put him to sleep, put his toys around and started cutting myself.”
She said she had killed Glen, a pupil of Ashgrove School in Penarth where staff said she was a devoted and caring mother, 36 hours before the officers arrived.
Glen Freaney
“I’ve sent him to the Kingdom of Heaven” she told them. “My only regret is that I couldn’t end my life – my blood kept on clotting.”
As she was being taken back down to the cells yesterday, Freaney paused and leaned over the back of the dock, to plant kisses from her hand gently onto to the heads of her two grown-up children, who had rushed from the public gallery to embrace her.
The court heard how Glen, who couldn’t be properly toilet trained but who loved to ride his bike and play on the swings, died some time between May 12 and 16 last year.
Even the prosecution, in bringing a charge of murder, accepted she was a woman who had devoted herself to the full-time care of the youngest of her four children.
“He could not be left alone for a minute,” prosecutor Gregg Taylor QC told the jury. “He could walk and run in special boots made for him but had no awareness of danger and would rush to look at cars and fire engines. He would have needed supervision for the rest of his life.”
Freaney herself did not give evidence but the trial heard of her state of mind and the stresses in her life through a series of texts messages between her, husband Mark and daughter Carla, 22, and in letters she left at the RAFA club in Penarth, where her husband was chairman and where she agreed, at his request, to become treasurer and sort out the books, which were in a mess.
Mr Rees said she did it to try to please the husband who had been abusive towards her for years, although it was too much for her and she just couldn’t cope.
In what were meant to be suicide notes left at the club and on the dressing table of her hotel room she spoke of the amount of her time the RAFA took up and alleged her husband gave it more attention than he did his family.
The court heard how the family had to leave their mortgaged home in Salop Street, Penarth, because it was so run-down it was declared uninhabitable.
After a period when they stayed with her daughter, she decided to leave Mr Freaney, also 49, who admitted being violent towards her and spent several weeks before the killing searching for a home for herself and Glen as they lived in a series of local hotels.
Trial judge Mr Justice Wyn Williams told Freaney she was being remanded in custody until sentence is passed in June. Mr Rees said: “The question of her coming back into the community and how that is to be dealt with will have to be considered.”

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