Mother: I did not murder autistic son

A mother who killed her severely autistic son by strangling him told police she had sent him to the "kingdom of heaven" where he would be happy without the disability, a court heard today.

Yvonne Freaney said she killed her 11-year-old son Glen at a hotel near Cardiff Airport, South Wales, because no-one else would look after him.

The 49-year-old admits manslaughter but denies murdering Glen, whose body was found in a room at the Sky Plaza Hotel in May last year.

Opening the prosecution at Cardiff Crown Court, Gregg Taylor QC told jurors: "This is going to be a difficult case."

Freaney, from Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, hung her head and stared at the floor as the case against her was outlined.

The court heard Freaney, who has three other children, harmed herself before lying on the bed beside her son.

She had laid his toys around him and sang to him as she held him tightly.

Mr Taylor said police officers arrived at the hotel just before 5pm.

He said Freaney told them: "I killed him about 36 hours ago, I have tried to join him. He's in heaven now.

"I strangled him. I used my belt over there by the bed.

"He's severely autistic, he's in heaven now where he won't be autistic, he'll be happy now."

Freaney was taken to hospital with a number of injuries to her wrists, arms, shoulder, chest and feet.

Mr Taylor said that after she was arrested Freaney added: "I had to do it, no-one else would look after him.

"I strangled him with my belt. I put him to sleep in the early hours. I needed to join him.

"I've sent him to the kingdom of heaven, he's happy there.

"It's funny, he was laughing when I strangled him, that's when I knew he'd be happy there."

The court was told Freaney said her only regret was that she had not taken her own life.

The jury heard Freaney had suffered from a long history of domestic abuse and self-harm, and lived in "dirty and cluttered" conditions.

Police were called several times to the family home after alleged incidents of domestic violence and social services became involved after a police officer described their home as "uninhabitable".

Freaney left her husband in March 2010, taking Glen with her and stayed in a series of hotels in the following weeks.

The court heard Glen had severe autism, requiring 24-hour care and was totally dependent on his mother.

The jury was told Freaney was a devoted mother who was always encouraging him, emphasised his achievements and never left his side.

During the months leading up to Glen's death the prosecution described a "build-up of pressure" on Freaney after her marriage came to an end and she was unable to find anywhere for herself and Glen to live.

Mr Taylor told the court Freaney had told doctors she did not want to leave Glen on his own, that her husband would not be able to cope and it would have been cruel to leave him behind.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss