Tuesday, 17 May 2011

FILICIDE; Wales: Yvonne Freaney tried for murder of autistic son

 Daniel Fisher: May 13 2011
Yvonne Freaney
A mother who killed her severely autistic son broke down in court today as the jury was shown the belt she used to strangle him.
Yvonne Freaney wept as Cardiff Crown Court was shown the black material belt she used to kill her son Glen, 11, at a hotel near Cardiff Airport in May last year.
The court also saw the large kitchen knives Freaney had unsuccessfully used to try and take her own life.
The mother of four admits manslaughter with diminished responsibility but denies murder.
The court today heard from the two police officers who found Glen’s body after being called to the Sky Plaza Hotel over fears for the safety of Freaney and her son.
Pc Matthew Jones, from Barry Police Station, told the court Freaney had asked for five minutes “to have a cigarette” before finally letting the officers into her hotel room.
He said Freaney eventually told them she had killed Glen 36 hours previously, and had then gone down to the bar to get a lager before, she said, “starting on myself”.
The officers found Glen’s body lying on the left side of the bed neatly tucked up with cuddly toys under his arms.
The right side of the bed was covered in dried blood where Freaney had been lying down after attempting to kill herself with knives and paracetamol. Gregg Taylor QC, prosecuting, said to Pc Jones: “You heard speech from inside the hotel room but it was quite quiet. She [Freaney] was having difficulty speaking and said ‘hello’, is that correct?”
Pc Jones replied: “Correct sir.”
The barrister added: “She asked if she could have five minutes to have a cigarette before she let you in. You told her ‘no’ and she removed the chain and told you it was open. She was sat on the edge of the bed and had various cuts to her arms and body.”
“Correct sir,” Pc Jones repeated.
The officer and colleague Pc James John then walked around the bed where they found Glen who was “quite clearly” dead, the jury heard.
“She said she had killed him 36 hours ago and that Glen was in heaven now,” the officer said.
Freaney had then pointed to the knives she had used to try and kill herself.
Pc Jones added: “She was very calm and clear about what she was saying. There was no panic. She was very matter of fact.”
The officer said Freaney then recounted how, because she wanted to be with Glen, she had cut her wrists and lay down next to him “to sleep”.
But she said the bleeding had stopped and she woke up – and had also vomited up the pills she had taken.
Pc John arrested Mrs Freaney on suspicion of murder. She then said: “I understand but I had to do it. No one else would look after him. I strangled him with my belt.
“I put him to sleep and then I went downstairs to get a lager before starting on myself.”
The court had earlier heard that Freaney was “terrified” of having her children taken away from her by social services.
She had been living in hotels for weeks after deciding to leave her abusive husband, Mark Freaney, in March last year.
The court heard of the “unbearable” pressure Freaney had been under, juggling the care of Glen – who needs one-to-one care around the clock – with the care of her other three children, all of whom have disabilities, as well as her mother who had Alzheimer’s Disease, until her death in 2008.  Freaney had also had a small stroke and had a lump removed from her breast in 2006.
She was also being physically and verbally abused by her husband who would beat her up “five times a year”, the court was told.

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