Mother who killed baby in blaze walks free from court
A single mother who falsely claimed raiders tied her up and started a fire in which her four-month-old son died walked free from court today.
Danielle Wails, 22, received three years probation, after admitting killing her son.
She told police she was tied up by intruders who set her flat ablaze last year.
Following the fire on August 28th, police launched a manhunt for the two men who she falsely claimed had attacked her in the two-bedroomed terrace house and then tied her up with telephone cord.
She told detectives she had been knocked unconscious and when she awoke, the lounge, where her son was, was alight.
She said she had used her tongue to dial 999 and shouted through the letterbox to neighbours, begging them to try and save Alexander.
Wails, who had split from the baby's father Robert Gallon after a series of rows, was living in accommodation provided by a charity which helps single mothers.
But her story, which included claims that she called 999 using her tongue, unravelled and she was charged with little Alexander Gallon's murder.
On the first day of the trial at Newcastle Crown Court in August, Wails' guilty plea to the lesser charge of infanticide was accepted by the prosecution after two psychiatrists both agreed she was suffering from postnatal depression and that the balance of her mind was disturbed at the time of the tragedy.
Today, the court heard that Wails had started the blaze of the rented home in Link Road, in the Cowgate area of Newcastle upon Tyne, to try and win back Mr Gallon after splitting.
Prosecutor Paul Sloan QC told the court: "Danielle Wails made an emergency 999 call asking for the fire service and the police.
"During the course of that telephone call she reported a fire at 5, Link Road and she claimed that she had been attacked and tied up.
"She said her baby son was on the other side of the other living room and she had not reached him because of the fire and the smoke.
"The tape recording of the call makes particular harrowing listening with baby Alexander's shrieks all too audible."
Neighbours heard Wails shouting through the letterbox: "My house is on fire. My baby, my baby," Mr Sloan said.
He added: "Danielle Wails stumbled outside and lay down on the ground. She had some telephone wire around her right wrist only.
"She reported to neighbours that she had been attacked and knocked out and when she awoke the house was on fire.
"She said she had made the 999 call using her tongue."
Fire crews rescued baby Alexander from the burning house and he was taken to Newcastle General Hospital, but pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
He had suffered horrific burns, while he mother had suffered only minor bruises and grazes.
Consultant psychiatrist Adrian East told the court he was satisfied Wails was suffering from postnatal depression and had been diagnosed with the symptoms in the months before the killing.
The court heard that Wails had claimed she was not being supported by health and social services staff before the tragedy, but records showed she had missed some appointments and that efforts to contact her had proved futile.
After Alexander's death, it emerged Wails had been bombarding Mr Gallon and his family with phone calls and text messages in a futile bid to reconcile their relationship.
Wails told people that Alexander was ill and needed hospital treatment - claims that were proven to be lies.
In the months before her son's death, she also told friends she had been attacked in Newcastle city centre and had lost twins and triplets.
Mr Sloan told the court: "There were many other false claims. It would seem that the underlying purpose behind these false claims was to win back her partner's sympathies and support.
"She was also bombarding people with calls to find out where Robert Gallon was. She clearly wanted him to return to her."