Lollies save boy as mother dies
Friday 11 August 1995
Four-year-old James Dyball was locked inside the flat with his mother Melanie, 33, when she suddenly collapsed last Friday as the sweltering heat soared above 32C (90F). He survived by opening the fridge-freezer - and the six lollies were all he could unwrap to eat.
James thought his mother was asleep but could not wake her. He sat in the flat for at least 72 hours watching television and eating the lollies and two packets of crisps. He was only discovered when neighbours became worried after his devoted mother was not seen for several days. Her landlady, Margaret Daley, was called in and found James playing with his toys when she peeped through the lounge window of the basement flat in Pembroke Dock, Dyfed, west Wales.
Mrs Daley said yesterday: "He is a little hero. I shouted through the window to him and he was able to follow my instructions and open it for me to climb in. The first words he said to me were: 'My mum is asleep'."
Mrs Daley found his mother lying dead on top of her bed. She comforted James before calling in police and ambulance.
Other neighbours who came in to help found ice lolly wrappers and empty crisp packets in the lounge. James was taken to Withybush hospital at Haverfordwest, Dyfed and released after a check-up.
Mrs Daley said: "Melanie's family are devastated. She was a great mother who was very nicely-spoken and independent. She looked after the little boy very well."
A neighbour, Angela Gilbert, 43, said: "We all know about him eating the lollipops to carry on and keep cool in all this heat. It was the only thing he could find to eat because obviously he couldn't cook any food at that young age.
"It is awful to think of that poor boy surviving because of that. The boy absolutely doted on his mother. When he left the house and his mother behind it must have finally hit him - he was crying his eyes out as he was being led away."
A police spokeswoman said the single mother had died from natural causes and no inquest will be held.
Last night James was being looked after by his mother's family.
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