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Woman sets fire to car while son, 5, is trapped inside

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A mentally-ill UK woman took her five-year-old son to McDonald's for a meal and bought him £45 (S$96) worth of toys.

After that, she bought petrol and drove to the village of Hursley, near the southern coast of England.

There, she locked her son, another child and herself in a car, poured petrol inside and set the vehicle ablaze with a cigarette lighter.

Teresa Sheldon, 38, later got out of the vehicle and tried to put out the flames with a rag.

The other child who was in the car at the time managed to escape, reported Mail Online. That child cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Her son Tommy, however, was trapped in the car as the child lock had been activated.

'I held his hands'

Two passers-by spotted Sheldon, who was on fire. One of them, Mr Alan Beusmans, managed to open the door and free Tommy.

Mr Beusmans reportedly told BBC: "To my horror I saw this young kid against the window pressing his face against it and I opened the door.

"Unfortunately I burnt my hand and I had to let go of the door and he fell out.

"He had his hands out to me and I am sure he said 'Dada', I don't know why, so I took his hands and I held his hands for about 20 minutes."

Tommy was rushed to hospital where he died two weeks later from his injuries.

The horrific incident took place in August last year.

Plagued by paranoid thoughts

On Monday (July 23), Sheldon pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

She also pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of another child.

The judge was told that Sheldon was mentally ill and plagued by paranoid thoughts. 

At the time, Sheldon had only recently split from her husband and believed that social services was going to take her son away.

The judge ruled this week that Sheldon be detained indefinitely at a psychiatric hospital.

He told her: "You believed you were being drugged, your car was being bugged and you had delusional beliefs.

"At the time of the killing you were suffering a severe depressive episode affecting your ability to know what you were doing, perform rational judgement and assert self-control."

Sources: Mail Online, Mirror, Kent Online

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