Battered mother found not guilty of son’s murder

Battered mother found not guilty of son’s murder

By Catherine Walker

A 49 year old mother of four from Penarth near Cardiff was found not guilty of the murder of her son.

Yvonne Freaney was homeless after she walked out on her violent husband and had eventually booked into the Sky Plaza Hotel in Rhoose last year.

Her defence team said that she had killed her son while suffering from an abnormality of the mind while under stress, suicidal and suffering from a personality disorder.

Defence barrister John Charles Rees QC told 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 the police officers who found the child’s body surrounded by his favourite soft toys ‘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.  I’ve sent him to the Kingdom of Heaven.  My only regret is that I couldn’t end my life – my blood kept on clotting.’

Mrs. Freaney’s 11 year old son, Glen had special needs.  The court was told how he couldn’t be properly toilet trained but he loved to play on the swings and ride his bike.

‘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.’

The staff of Ashgrove School in Penarth where Glen had been a pupil said that Mrs. Freaney was a devoted and caring mother.  Even the prosecution accepted that she had devoted herself to the ful-time care of the youngest of her four children.

Trial judge Mr. Justice Wyn Williams remanded Freaney 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 dealth with will have to be considered’.


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