Mother bought McDonald’s Happy Meal for five-year-old son before tying their hands together and jumping to death

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Emma Sillett bought her son Jenson Spellman a Happy Meal before jumping into a reservoir (PA)

A mother struggling with depression bought her young son a McDonald’s Happy Meal before ending their lives in murder-suicide, an inquest heard.

Emma Sillett filled five-year-old Jenson Spellman’s rucksack with rocks and his hands to hers before jumping into the Valehouse Reservoir in the Derbyshire Peak District in November last year.

Social worker Ms Sillett, 41, left a note in her car which said she intended to kill herself but could not bear to leave her son behind.

Chesterfield Coroner’s Court heard how Jenson was found “tied to her by his wrist”, two days after he and his mother were reported missing.

Ms Sillett had “left a marker” to help locate the bodies, leading officers to a cuddly toy and a torch at the edge of the water.

Their bodies were found at Valehouse Reservoir in the Derbyshire Peak District (SWNS)

Jenson’s father, John Spellman, told emergency services his partner had been “very low” after recently suffered three miscarriages, and that she had previously talked about “ending it all”.

Ms Sillett’s Peugeot 308 was found at the at the reservoir, less than three miles from the family’s home in the village of Dinting, near Glossop.

Leftovers from a Happy Meal, a handbag, phone and purse were found inside the vehicle.

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DC Rebecca Fearon told the inquest: “It was clear she battled with thoughts of suicide, but had also battled with continuing to live.

“She said she could not stand the thought of Jenson living without her. She talked about never wanting to put him through a life of pain and being bullied and singled out.

“She said she wanted to tie him to her because she did not want him drifting away from her.”

Ms Sillett stopped off at a McDonald's near her home in Dinting (Google)

Ms Sillett had written letters addressed to other family members apologising for what she was about to do.

DC Fearon added: “It’s clear Emma struggled with life and all the evidence points to depression being a long term and recurring issue, but there was nothing out of the ordinary that could be seen as a trigger.

“The breakdown of her relationship appears to have been the most significant issue in her life.”

Derbyshire Assistant Coroner Emma Serano concluded that Ms Sillett took her own life and unlawfully killed her son.

She said the Ms Sillet’s note made it clear she had tried to carry out her plan the day before but stopped when “Jenson became frightened”.

Addressing the families in court she added: “I simply do not have the words to express what I would like to express to you.”

For confidential emotional help at times of distress, contact The Samaritans at any time of the day by calling 116 123 or emailing

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