A 24-year-old woman and her four-year-old boy have been found dead, with the late boy holding on to his dead mother.
It turned out that the mother had died two weeks before, but the boy, said to be autistic, had held on to his mother for two weeks without eating or drinking, and consequently starved to death.
That was the coroner’s verdict on Congolese migrant, Esther Eketi-Mulo; and her young son, Chadrack. Esther had reportedly died suddenly after suffering an epileptic fit at her council flat in Hackney, East London, last October.
Her young son, Chadrack, who had autism, was mute and therefore unable to raise the alarm. He died of starvation two weeks later. He was found clinging to his mother’s decomposing body after a family member raised the alarm.
This deeply disturbing case has raised serious questions about how on earth a child could have starved to death in Britain in 2017 without anyone noticing.
The staff at Chadrack’s school, Morningside Primary in Hackney, had visited the tower block where he lived with his mother to find out the cause of his absence, as Chadrack had been missing from school since the end of September 2016.
But they were unable to get a response via the downstairs intercom and, after two visits, eventually gave up. Esther’s family also telephoned her, but despite being unable to get a response, did not think it meant anything serious.
Coroner Mary Hassell, who investigated the case, has now demanded a nationwide schools alert system to ensure pupil absences are properly investigated in a bid to prevent anything like this happening again.
Esther reportedly adored her only child. His birth, at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, Hammersmith, West London, in January 2012, was the culmination of all the hopes and dreams she’d had when she first came to the UK from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the age of 16.