Accused Mother Suffered Trauma as Child

Article excerpt

Byline: Daniel Fisher

A MOTHER who strangled her autistic son to death had an inability to deal with anger because of a traumatic childhood, a court heard yesterday.

A psychiatrist said that Yvonne Freaney, 49, did not have any mental illness or personality disorder, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Instead, she could not deal with the anger that formed when she was sexually abused as a child - but had "no recognisable psychiatric condition". The Penarth mother of four admits killing her 11-year-old son Glen with her belt at a hotel near Cardiff Airport in May last year.

She admits manslaughter through diminished responsibility but denies murder.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Philip Joseph told the jury it could only find diminished responsibility if Freaney was suffering an abnormality of the mind at the time of the killing caused by a "recognisable" disorder or mental illness.

He said: "Freaney suffered during childhood which shaped her future personality. Her emotions were kept under control and she was not allowed to talk about how she felt.

"She has difficulty living a stable life and forming healthy relationships. She has a tendency to ruminate on perceived injustice - but this does not amount to a personality disorder.

"What she did was highly abnormal - but I don't believe she was suffering depressive illness or any other mental illness amounting to an abnormality of the mind."

But Dr Joseph, standing for the prosecution, said it was a "fine line" and added it would be "legitimate" for another psychiatrist to say she did have a personality disorder. …