A mum who killed her 10-year-old disabled son using a sponge said she did so as a ‘gesture of love’, a court heard.
Acton resident Olga Freeman, 40, killed Dylan Freeman by blocking his airway by stuffing two pieces of sponge down his throat. She also used a bra and pills to try and kill him.
The young boy was “an indirect victim” of the coronavirus pandemic, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said before sentencing Freeman today (Thursday, February 11).
Freeman, who appeared in court via video link from a West London hospital, was given a hospital order with a restriction without limit of time at the Old Bailey
Freeman, who previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter on January 25, attended a West London police station and spoke with officers at about 2.30am on Sunday, August 16 2020. A short time later, officers and London Ambulance Service paramedics went to her house in Cumberland Park and discovered Dylan’s body tucked in his mother’s bed surrounded by toys.
The court heard when the Russian national was being held at Acton Police Station on the night of the killing that she had killed Dylan as a ‘gesture of love.’
(Image: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire)
Dylan, who had autism and a range of conditions restricting his sight and communication, required 24-hour care and was unable to attend one to one teaching at a school in Ealing when the pandemic struck and instead had to remain shielding at home.
The Old Bailey heard Freeman, who suffered from depression and anxiety, had developed psychotic symptoms as a result of the pressures of the pandemic and having to care for Dylan at home.
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The prosecutor explained in the week leading up to Dylan’s death Freeman was not eating or sleeping and smoking constantly. She was drinking large amounts of coffee often two cups at a time.
When a friend spoke to Freeman at the time she said she had seen “supernatural events”.
Freeman began to cry as the court heard how she would speak about being the “second Jesus”.
Prior to the incident Freeman said she had been chosen by God to save the world and that God had been incarnated in her, the court heard.
A friend was so worried for Freeman she made covert recordings of her speaking.
After killing Dylan, Freeman booked two easyJet tickets to Tel Aviv, Israel and told a friend she needed to go to Jerusalem.
She explained: “They are waiting for us. I’ve got this mission.”
A friend hid her passport to ensure she could not go. Freeman told her friend she was the second messiah and ‘now the purpose of the messiah is to kill her own child’, the court heard.
Freeman allegedly said: “I have spared my child the horrors that awaited him. It cannot be any worse than it has been.”
(Image: Ben Sutherland)
‘I have nightmares for the loss of my son’
Dylan’s father, celebrity photographer Dean Freeman, who was in Spain when his ex-wife allegedly killed their son, paid tribute to him in a victim’s statement at the start of the sentencing at the Old Bailey.
A statement read out on Mr Freeman’s behalf, as he appeared virtually in court, said: “The impact of losing a child is devastating and tragic. The impact of not seeing him grow up is painful and sad.
“He had artistic vision. Grief is a journey and it will be with me for the rest of my life.
“The grief will never change for me. It will change my life. Dylan was the delight of my life.
“I miss my son. I would have had many more holidays with him. I would have taken him to many art galleries.
“I have nightmares and the sadness impacts me for the loss of my son. He was the most gentle and sweet boy. I miss him more than words can say.”
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Dean Freeman and Olga Freeman were married for six years between 2006 and 2012. Dylan would spend summers with his father and would love swimming and going to art galleries, the court heard.
Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said it was a “rare and desperately sad” case.
The burden of looking after Dylan had taken its toll and by the summer of 2020, Freeman reached her “wits’ end” and was “exhausted”, the senior judge said.
She said: “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.”
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