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The ex-wife of a celebrity photographer has admitted to killing their developmentally disabled 10-year-old son as she struggled to cope during the coronavirus pandemic – after calling herself a “messiah” who had to “sacrifice my beloved child,” according to a report.
Olga Freeman, 40, suffered a breakdown before shoving a sponge into Dylan’s mouth and covering him with a blanket among his toys in their Acton, West London, apartment in August 2020, the Times of London reported.
In a virtual court appearance Monday from a psychiatric hospital, Freeman denied murder but admitted to manslaughter as a result of diminished responsibility, the news outlet reported.
Dylan’s dad, celebrity and fashion photographer Dean Freeman, 57, was away in Spain at the time of his son’s death.
The boy — who had autism, myopia and significant communication problems — needed round-the-clock care and had been attending a special school five days a week.
The court was told that local authorities had failed to provide Dylan with extra assistance during the pandemic, according to The Times.
In the week before his death, Freeman talked about saving the world and being a messiah — and insisting she had to travel to Jerusalem.
“This is my job: to sacrifice my beloved child to create a balance in this world,” she said in a recording.
Hours before killing Dylan, the Russian citizen had argued with her ex about his role in caring for their son, the court heard.
Freeman’s friend Edita Surpickaja told the court previously that the mother had struggled to meet Dylan’s needs and that her mental health had deteriorated.
Surpickaja had been helping Freeman about 12 hours a week but the local council did not pitch in despite repeated requests, the court was told.
On the night before Dylan was found, Freeman sent a message saying: “I am done. Where are u?”
When Surpickaja arrived at the home, she found Freeman had booked two seats on a flight from London to Tel Aviv – and told her friend not to go into the bedroom.
“We need to go to Jerusalem. I did what I did. Sometimes when things are good it can be really evil,” Freeman told Surpickaja, who hid the mother’s passport, according to The Times.
Surpickaja recorded a conversation on a phone in which Freeman said she had no choice but to kill Dylan.
After a discussion, the women walked to the Acton police station, where
Freeman announced loudly: “I have killed my child.”
Freeman told police she had tried to “kill him softly” by giving the boy an overdose of a hormone treatment for insomnia, but when that didn’t work she used her bra and then her hands to strangle him before inserting the sponge in his mouth.
Prosecutor Gareth Patterson told the court that that the manslaughter plea was acceptable.
“The partial defense of diminished responsibility is available to the defendant on the basis there was a severe depressive episode with psychotic symptoms at the time,” he said.
“That is acceptable to the prosecution after careful consideration and extensive further inquiries by the officers conducting this investigation,” Patterson added.
The judge adjourned sentencing until Feb. 11 after hearing a defense recommendation that the appropriate action would be a hospital order with restrictions.
The father, who has been divorced from Freeman for some time, has previously paid tribute to his late son.
“Dylan was a beautiful, bright, inquisitive and artistic child who loved to travel, visit art galleries and swim,” Dean Freeman said.
“We traveled extensively over the years together, spending such memorable time in places including Brazil, France and Spain. I can’t begin to comprehend his loss,” he added.
The grieving father has photographed well-known figures including the Spice Girls, actor Bradley Cooper and the model Emily Ratajkowski.
Dean’s father, Robert Freeman, also was a photographer to famed musicians, including jazz great John Coltrane and the Beatles, for whom he shot well-known album covers in the 1960s.
After the guilty plea, Kristen Katsouris of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “This was a tragic death of a child at the hands of his mother, who was struggling to cope.
“Olga Freeman had loved and cared for Dylan for many years but the strain and pressures of her son’s severe and complex special needs had built up and that, combined with her impaired mental health, led to heartbreaking consequences,” she said.
“Our thoughts are with all those affected by this case,” Katsouris added.
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