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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Mother admits killing son in fire
Danielle Wails
Wails said she had been tied up by masked intruders
The depressed 21-year-old mother of a four-month-old boy who died in a house fire has admitted starting the blaze.

Danielle Wails had told police that intruders started the fire in Link Road, Cowgate, Newcastle, on 28 August 2005 that killed baby Alexander Gallon.

Wails denied murder at the city's crown court, but admitted infanticide, which was accepted by the court after psychiatrists said she was depressed.

She was remanded in custody on Tuesday and will be sentenced on 20 October.

Consultant psychiatrist Adrian East told the court he was satisfied Wails was suffering from postnatal depression and an unbalanced mind and had been diagnosed with the symptoms in the months before the killing.

Alexander Gallon
Four-month-old Alexander Gallon died in the fire

Wails had told police that the blaze was started by two masked intruders who tied her up with a telephone cord and beat her unconscious.

Suicide claim

She said she used her tongue to dial 999 and shouted through the letterbox to neighbours, begging them to try to save her and her son.

Wails, who had split from the boy's father after a series of rows, was living in accommodation provided by a charity which helps single mothers, the hearing heard.

The court heard how Wails had also intended to kill herself and despite accepting her admission of infanticide the prosecution refused to accept the suicide claim.

Paul Sloan QC, prosecuting, said: "The natural inference to be drawn from all of the circumstances is that while she intended to take the child's life she had not formed the intention of taking her own life.

"Indeed, she had every intention of surviving the fire and fabricating the account she gave having alerted the emergency services."

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