Mum treated her son, McDonald’s Happy meal before murder-suicide

Mum treated her son, McDonald’s Happy meal before murder-suicide


A “depressed” mother bought her young son a McDonald’s Happy Meal before filling his backpack with rocks, tying their wrists together and leaping into a dam with him to their deaths, an inquest has heard.

Emma Sillett, 41, drove five-year-old Jenson Spellman to their deaths at an isolated reservoir in the Derbyshire Peak District of central England in November 2018.

The social worker left a note in her car which explained she wanted to end her own life but couldn’t bear to leave Jenson behind, Chesterfield Coroner’s Court heard.

In the years leading up to this tragedy, Sillett had battled depression and endured three miscarriages in only two years and the sudden death of her older brother, the hearing was told.

Emma Sillett, 41, treated her son to a Happy Meal from McDonald’s before filling his backpack with rocks, tying their wrists together and jumped into a reservoir. Picture: Derbyshire Police
Emma Sillett and Jenson had a final meal at the local McDonalds. Picture: Supplied

Officers found Sillett’s black Peugeot 308 parked near Valehouse Reservoir — less than 5km from the family home in Dinting village — two days later, the BBC reported.

Detective Constable Rebecca Fearon told the hearing they found a suicide note along with leftovers from a McDonald’s Happy Meal, a handbag, a mobile phone and a purse inside the car.

Sillett’s note explained she would “leave a marker” to help authorities locate their bodies, Detective Fearon said.

A child’s soft toy and torch at the water’s edge where Sillett had entered the water with her son but by then it was too dark to search.

A specialist underwater team returned the following day and found Sillett and Jenson’s bodies tied together at the wrist.

The court was told toxicology tests showed neither had any injuries and no traces of any drugs were found in their systems.

“It was clear she struggled with thoughts of suicide, but had also battled with continuing to live,” Detective Fearon said.

“She said she could not stand the thought of Jenson living without her. She talked about never wanting to put him through a life of pain and being bullied and singled out.

“She said she wanted to tie him to her because she did not want him drifting away from her.”

Jenson Spellman, five, was led to his death by his mother. Picture: Facebook

In her suicide note, Sillett said she had sought therapy to help her cope with her “traumatic” childhood but “nothing had helped”, Detective Fearon told the inquest.

She had also written to other family members apologising for what she was about to do.

The hearing heard how her brother’s death and miscarriages had contributed greatly to her depression, Metro online stated.

“It’s clear Emma struggled with life and all the evidence points to depression being a long term and recurring issue, but there was nothing out of the ordinary that could be seen as a trigger,” Detective Fearon said.

Derbyshire Assistant Coroner Emma Serano said Sillett’s note indicated she had tried to carry out her plan the day before but abandoned it after Jenson “became frightened”.

“We do not know exactly what time events unfolded but at some time Emma took him out of the vehicle, strapped him to herself, then placed rocks in the rucksack she was wearing and also put rocks in the pockets of herson’s jacket and they entered the reservoir together,” Coroner Serano said.


Henry Sapiecha

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