Claire Scanlon, 38, killed her son Dylan at their home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, on New Year’s Eve in 2021 (Pictures: Greater Manchester Police/SWNS/MEN)
A ‘selfish’ mum who murdered her five-year-old son by poisoning him with anti-depressants to ‘take him away’ from her ex has been jailed for life.
Claire Scanlon, 38, killed her son Dylan at their home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, on New Year’s Eve in 2021.
He was found with 64 bruises to his head, face and body, while a toxicology report revealed he had nine times the fatal dose of the medication in his system.
Scanlon claimed Dylan had fallen from the ladder to the attic and had been playing with the dog shortly before finding him unresponsive.
But she told staff at the Edenfield Hospital after being arrested and sectioned: ‘I killed my son.’
The court heard Scanlon had been left feeling ‘very angry and depressed’ following the ‘bitter’ breakdown of her relationship with her ex-partner and Dylan’s dad in 2020.
She left a string of ranting voicemails in the weeks before the killing, saying he had left her for another woman while she struggled to live ‘emotionally, practically and financially’ as a single mum.
On December 15, she warned: ‘I promise you, you won’t see him again. You’ll see. Bye. Go and enjoy your life.’
And in a final message left on December 30, she said: ‘You’re just showing all you want to do is act like me and Dyl weren’t in your life and crack on, make a new life with your new bird.
‘So you go and do that. I’ll solve it for you. Go and enjoy your new life with her.’
Claire Scanlon was jailed for life (Picture: Greater Manchester Police/SWNS)
A toxicology report concluded Dylan had nine times the fatal limit of anti-depressants in his system (Picture: MEN Media)
Scanlon was found guilty of murder following a trial at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court.
She refused to return to the dock to hear Mrs Justice Yip give her a life sentence with a minimum term of 18 years.
The judge told her: ‘Dylan was five when he died. He was an active, happy little boy. He had just started primary school and his teachers spoke warmly of him.
‘He was very much loved. This is a very sad case. You went from being a good mother who loved Dylan very much to murdering him.
‘You are the only person who knows exactly what happened, but you have not told the truth.
‘I am sure you gave Dylan a large overdose of your anti-depressants intending that he should die. There are unanswered questions about what you did.
‘You decided to take him away from everyone who loved him. That was a selfish decision to hurt those you were angry with. There was no suggestion you ever hurt Dylan before.
‘He was a young boy who depended on you completely, you abused the trust placed in you as his mother and primary carer. I am sure your intention was to kill.’
The court heard Scanlon had inherited Huntington’s disease from her mother, calling the diagnosis a ‘death sentence’.
Following her arrest police found a note saying ‘don’t let them see us, just cremate us’, which prosecutors suggested showed she had planned to die with him.
While the judge said this may have affected Scanlon’s behaviour, she said it was no excuse for murdering her son.
She said: ‘It must have been frightening and upsetting when you started to get symptoms and realised you had it – you described Huntington’s as a death sentence.
‘But as the jury found in their verdict, it does not explain or excuse killing Dylan.
‘Because of your Huntington’s disease, you may not have a long life. It may be that you spend the rest of your life in prison or a secure hospital.’
Dylan with his brother (Picture: Greater Manchester Police/SWNS)
Dylan’s dad, Gary Keenan, read a moving victim impact statement, revealing his grief at never being able to see his son again.
He said: ‘Christmas was one of Dylan’s favourite times of the year.
‘He loved the lights, the sparkles and the presents. I had so many presents to give him, but his mum said I wasn’t allowed to see him.
‘So, they were still at my home in the hope I could give them to him when I saw him next – but that never happened.’
He added: ‘There will always be a massive hole in our hearts at the loss of Dylan, and we miss him every day.’
Following the case, Nicola Carter, senior crown prosecutor for North West CPS said: ‘Claire Scanlon’s role as a parent was to love and protect her son from harm, but she took the ultimate step to take her young son Dylan away from her ex-partner.
‘She initially told her family that a ladder had fallen on Dylan, then a short time later she told a paramedic that he had fallen down some steps. The truth was that she had deliberately poisoned and beaten him.
‘I would like to offer my sincere sympathies to Dylan’s loved ones including his grandfather, father and brother who gave evidence at the trial. They not only have to come to terms with his loss, but also the manner in which he died.’
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