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Mother of photographer’s autistic son, 10, ‘gave boy a sleeping drug’

A celebrity photographer’s ten-year-old autistic son was given a sleeping drug and had a sponge placed in his mouth before he died, an inquest heard today.

Dylan Freeman’s body was discovered at the family’s home in Acton, West London, on August 16. His mother, Russian national Olga Freeman, was charged with murder and remanded in custody until her next appearance at the Old Bailey.

An inquest opening today heard that the 40-year-old mother, who had recently been prescribed antidepressants, had administered her son with a sleeping drug.

She then placed a sponge in his mouth and tied it in place with a bra before calling her friend to tell her what she had done, West London Coroner’s Court was told.

Mrs Freeman, the boy’s sole carer and the ex-wife of photographer Dean Freeman, is then said to have turned herself in at Acton police station where she was arrested. 

Coroner Chinyere Inyama said: ‘Dylan had many additional needs and suffered from autism and Cohen syndrome, partial sight, speech language and mobility issues.

‘The mother called a friend in the early hours of morning and stated to the friend that she had killed her son.’

Mr Inyama added that the mother administered a sleeping aid and then ‘placed a sponge in his mouth and held it in place by tying it with a bra’.

After Mrs Freeman turned herself in, officers rushed to the address but found the boy lifeless, the inquest heard.

One of Dylan’s teachers identified his body at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London on August 20, the hearing was told.

The coroner confirmed he was satisfied with the provisional cause of death as ‘upper airway obstruction by a foreign body.’

He added: ‘There is no evidence of any other injuries as a result of assault or restraint.’

The inquest was adjourned until March 5 next year while criminal proceedings continue.

A spokesman for the boy’s father said he was in Spain at the time of his son’s death.

Paying tribute to his son, Mr Freeman said: ‘Dylan was a beautiful, bright, inquisitive and artistic child who loved to travel, visit art galleries and swim.

‘We travelled extensively over the years together spending such memorable time in places including Brazil, France and Spain. I can’t begin to comprehend his loss.’

Mr Freeman said he has been ‘touched’ by the messages of support he had received.

The mother is due to appear for a plea and trial preparation hearing at the Old Bailey on November 4. 

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