Deprecated: Function session_register() is deprecated in /home/sites/ on line 88 Tommy Sheldon car fire death: Mum admits killing
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Tommy Sheldon car fire death: Mum admits killing

  • 7-26-2015

The mother of a five-year-old boy from Southampton who died in a car fire has pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Tommy Sheldon died two weeks after being pulled from the burning car in Hursley, Hampshire, in August.

His mother, Teresa Sheldon, from Kent, also admitted arson and being reckless as to endangering life in respect to another person in the car.

She was given a hospital order under the terms of the Mental Health Act.

During the hearing, the Crown accepted the manslaughter plea from the 38-year-old from Leyton Cross Road, Dartford.

Winchester Crown Court heard she had been suffering from a long-term depressive illness and that her paranoia had become worse after her marriage broke down.

Tommy was rescued from inside the burning car by a passer-by in Merdon Castle Lane, Hursley, on 11 August. He was airlifted to hospital with serious burns and died on 25 August.

Speaking shortly after the fire, Alan Beusmans, who managed to open one of the doors to get Tommy out of the car, said: "To my horror I saw this young kid against the window, pressing his face against it and I opened the door.

"Unfortunately, I burnt my hand and I had to let go of the door and he fell out.

"He had his hands out to me and I am sure he said 'Dada'.

"I don't know why, so I took his hands and I held his hands for about 20 minutes."

After the case, a statement released on behalf of Tommy's family described him as "a very loving, caring, happy-go-lucky, beautiful little boy" who was "always full of smiles and laughter".

The other person in the car at the time cannot be named for legal reasons.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2015 BBC

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