Celebrity photographer's autistic son, 10, suffocated with sponge as mother 'struggled' to take care of him
A court has heard how the wife of a celebrity photographer allegedly suffocated their ten-year-old son with a sponge and laid his lifeless body next to his toys. 40-year-old Olga Freeman is accused of killing son Dylan at their Acton, West London residence in the early hours of Sunday morning, The Sun reported. Freeman, ex wife of photographer Dean Freeman, reportedly suffocated her son and then proceeded to lay his body down among his toys in the master bedroom of the £544,000 ($719,000) apartment.
It was said that Olga "struggled" to care for Dylan in the six months leading to his death, especially since he suffered from a range of medical conditions including autism. "The cause of death was found to be restriction of the airways," Joel Smith, prosecuting, said. "Parts of sponge were found within the throat of the deceased." He told the court that Freeman had been “struggling to meet Dylan’s care needs for the last year, as he became older, bigger, and more difficult to care for."
The court was also told his behavior had been “especially challenging” and the "burden of care had fallen more heavily" on the defendant and a pal during lockdown when Dylan was unable to attend school. Freeman is facing a single count of murder and is remanded in custody before her next court appearance scheduled on November 4.
Dean Freeman, a celebrity photographer who has worked with Hollywood A-listers and celebrities including Bradley Cooper and Emily Ratajkowski, was in Spain when he heard the "shocking and heartbreaking news". "Dylan was a beautiful, bright, inquisitive, and artistic child who loved to travel, visit art galleries, and swim," Dean said in a statement. "We traveled extensively over the years together spending such memorable times in places including Brazil, France, and Spain. I can't begin to comprehend his loss."
Dean's agent described him as a "loving and caring father and even though divorced for a number of years, he cherished all the quality time spent with his son." According to The Sun, young Dylan's grandfather was also a famous photographer and shot for a series of iconic albums including The Beatles' 'A Hard Day's Night' and 'Rubber Soul'.
Freeman is from Moscow, Russia, according to her Facebook page. Authorities reportedly launched an investigation after she went to a police station and spoke to officers about the incident early Sunday. Neighbor Keith Grindrod claimed he was woken by a "scream in the middle of the night."
"It sounded like a little scream next door. It was a childish scream. It was just enough to wake me up," he explained. "I can hear next door and downstairs when they are moving around and I can hear outside as it is quiet at the weekend. Then I woke up at about 6 am and looked out the window and saw a police car outside."
Meanwhile, other neighbors said Dylan was unable to speak and used a wheelchair due to his disability. “I don’t know who the family were but if the little boy is who I think he is, I used to see him being taken to school in his wheelchair in a specially adapted van," said Gillian Fisher, 34.
“The child was a wheelchair user and disabled quite severely," neighbor Guy said of the victim. “He couldn’t really speak and spent a lot of time just yelling."
“I never saw them out, I don’t think they went out and about. They just had access to the garden," he added.