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Isolation, Despair, Compassion and Murder

TheScream Read the full article in the UK's Telegraph: What could have driven Yvonne Freaney to murder her son?  You can comment at the UK Telegraph site.

By Elizabeth Grace

Every parent who has looked after a severely disabled child experiences a random breaking point, a moment unannounced when the unthinkable could happen: they are on the brink of inflicting injury. Loss of control is usually so momentary that it leaves nothing worse than a stab of guilt. But occasionally the whole loving edifice of round-the-clock caring collapses into a scene of tragedy such as the one Yvonne Freaney’s family met when they opened the door of her hotel room in Cardiff.

For more than two days, this traumatised woman had sat holding the hand of her dead son, a boy of 11, who suffered from severe autism. Her state of mind as she waited to be found, and the degree of desperation that apparently led her to take his life, can only be imagined. She has been charged with his murder. It is not murder as we normally understand it, however, but something more subtle, more extreme, much more inexplicable: a crime against nature.

 This seems to be the latest in a wave of desperate cases where mothers, out of isolation, despair or compassion, are driven to kill a disabled child. Fiona Pilkington died alongside her 18-year-old mentally-disabled daughter after being tormented for years by bullying and abuse from local youths. She had made 21 calls to the police but they had failed to act. A month later, Joanne Hill drowned her four-year-old daughter, Naomi, who had cerebral palsy. She was convicted of murder. Earlier this year, Kay Gilderdale, a devoted mother, killed her 31-year old daughter, Lynn, whose life had become so “unimaginably wretched” through the chronic fatigue illness, ME, that she had tried to commit suicide. She was cleared of attempted murder. As with Frances Inglis, a mother jailed at the Old Bailey in January for injecting her brain-damaged son with a lethal heroin dose, Mrs Gilderdale’s family believed she had had her daughter’s best interests at heart... Read the full article:
What could have driven Yvonne Freaney to murder her son?



Every murderer has a story to tell- Maybe they grew up with child abuse, sexual abuse, drug abuse,extreme poverty, that led to there decision to do what they did. It still makes it wrong.We need more help and support for families of children with ALL disabilities. It just scares me that someone thinks she should not be found guilty of murder. She could have put him in foster care or a group home or called 911 and said "Help me I am going to kill someone."I can not believe you are condoning this.

Cherry Sperlin Misra

Thankyou nhokkanen for your comment. It certainly seems that way. When a problem is just so difficult to solve (as autism related problems are), isnt it easier to just look the other way and try to forget about it. We all do that sometimes and no doubt society does that too. I can only think of this mother and her child and her other children as victims. I hope that life can compensate each one of them in some way.

Tom Petrie

I have a view similar to other writers here: I believe that everyone has a breaking point. The people are neglected from every corner of society. There is little social care, affected families get little, if any support from other family members, insurance often doesn't cover extensive (and holistic) therapies and there's little "mental health support" for caretakers--usually parents or in some cases, a single parent.

So while one can never condone the killing of another family member, I can understand it. I certainly do NOT think the parents discussed here should be found guilty of murder.

Let this be a wake-up call for those in control to STOP poisoning our children and do everything to ensure that children are born WITHOUT disabilities and WITHOUT forced or coerced vaccinations.

I've never heard of a parent in Amish country taking the life of one of their children. If we want healthy parents, it would behoove us to enhance the health of our children to make them simply vibrant, loving, healthy and fit. This will NOT happen when these are not our shared goals, but extracting maximum profit from each child IS the goal. After all, isn't it true that schools receive federal funding equal to vaccination levels achieved?

I know the answers are complicated, but we would do well to do EVERYTHING we can to keep our children healthy AND free from forced injections of neurotoxic substances.

Rob Smith

"I am no saint, but I would Never, EVER kill my child!"

You don't think you would ever kill your child, but you can never truly know, and that's why you should not just feel sorry for this woman, you should weep for her. Every person has a breaking point, a point where rational thought stops. You can never know where that point is, and you don't realize you've hit it until after you've regained rational thought. It's at this point where the things you know you would never do, become possible. Sometimes, however, you can get close enough to the point where you can just glimpse it. It's a scary place and one that I've been to, and I'd bet you have too. That's why I weep for this woman, because I understand that "there, but for the grace of God, go I".


This is scarey. Why are we suppposed to feel sorry for someone murdering her child? My life is hard, too. My son has autism ,too. I have no respite, not much money, no family near to help. I am no saint, but I would Never, EVER kill my child! IF you are that despondent, call 911, I do not know what else to say. Yes we need more services and supports in our society! There is virtually NO help for parents, but you do not get to kill your child.


Society is quietly letting the problems of autism families be solved in a manner similar to that employed with violent gangs: Withhold positive intervention and simply let them kill themselves.

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