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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2005, 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK
Boy 'improving' after flat ordeal
The boy survived in the flat for two weeks
A three-year-old boy who survived alone for a fortnight alongside the body of his dead mother is "improving every day", according to his uncle.

The body of Anne-Marie McGarrity, 33, was found in a fifth floor flat in the Leith area of Edinburgh on Saturday.

Her son, Michael, was thought to have survived on food kept in the larder.

In a statement, Ms McGarrity's brother, Keiran, said: "He is becoming more chatty each day and is behaving like any other three-year-old boy."

'Devastating time'

"We are glad he is getting better. We are hopeful he can leave hospital soon."

"Michael has been watching Bob the Builder, which he loves and playing with his Incredibles toys.

"He is beginning to tell us a bit about what happened but it is very early days and it will be a long time before we know the whole story.

Michael's uncle said it had been a "devastating time" for the whole family and he asked for their privacy to be respected.

"We all need time on our own to help Michael through this and do not want to make any further statements at this time," Mr McGarrity said.

Michael was discovered when police broke into the flat at the weekend.

Leith MP Mark Lazarowicz called for an inquiry

The boy's grandmother Eleanor McGarrity said she had alerted officers after staff at Michael's nursery became worried about him and phoned her.

She was reported to have described the boy as "like a skeleton" and very weak when he was found at the flat in North Fort Street.

Michael has been undergoing treatment for dehydration at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

NHS Lothian said the boy was "doing well" and should be discharged within a few days.

Reviewing procedures

Lothian and Borders Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his mother's death. Initial post-mortem tests have proved inconclusive as to the cause of death.

Anne-Marie's neighbour in the Fort estate flats, Moira Chisholm, said: "The mail was coming back out through the door and in retrospect I think it might have been Michael trying to attract attention.

"I told the postman, 'can you make sure you put the mail right through' in case she was away.

"And he did put it through but later it was back out again."

The local MP for Leith, Mark Lazarowicz, called for an inquiry and said questions needed to be answered to avoid any recurrence.

Edinburgh City Council said it would be reviewing absence procedures at nurseries.

A spokesman said: "While it must be recognised that nursery education is non-statutory provision and there is no requirement for a child to attend, this situation shows that it is very important to establish the reasons why a child is not attending and in the light of this we will be reviewing our absence procedures."


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Boy raids larder for food to survive for two weeks in flat




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