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Mute 4-year-old schoolboy slowly starved to death as he clung to his mum’s dead body in their flat

Mirror logo Mirror 8/06/2017 Patrick Lion
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A four-year-old disabled schoolboy starved to death clinging to his mother's body after he was left there with her corpse for more than two weeks.

Mute and autistic Chadrack Mbala Mulo was found with his arms wrapped around the decomposed body of his mum Esther Eketi-Mulo in their northeast London flat.

An inquest has heard how the heartbreaking find on October 20 came after Chadrack was unable to raise the alarm when his mum died at the start of the month after an epileptic fit.

Chadrack died of malnutrition and dehydration and autism spectrum disorder on October 18, according to a report into his death.

Neighbours at the Trelawney Estate in Hackney reportedly thought the stench coming from the family's flat was from the mum's cooking.

The case has now raised questions over school procedures when children are absent.

Coroner Mary Hassel said in her report: "Chadrack had learning difficulties and, when his mother died unexpectedly at home on 1 or 2 October 2016, he did not know how to call for help or feed himself properly."

Staff at his school, Morningside Primary, had visited the home twice and rang several times in early October but could not get in.

The Coroner said: "They ... could not gain access to the block of flats where Chadrack and his mother lived.

"The likelihood is that Chadrack lived alone in the family home for over a fortnight after his mother’s death.

"He was found a couple of days after his own death, with his arms around her body.

"She was by then very decomposed."

Ms Hassell has called for a new system to handle unexplained absences from school after the little boy had not attended since September 30.

She argued without action there was a risk of other similar deaths.

The inquest found the school had a telephone number for Chadrack’s mother, but not for any other family member or friend.

But now the school insist that for every child in the school they have the telephone number of three different adults.

Ms Hassell said: "If a child unexpectedly fails to attend and no relevant adult can be contacted via phone, staff at the school do not now wait three to five days as they did then, but instead immediately send a member of staff to the family home."

"They now make a distinction between an attendance issue that may warrant a penalty (not the case for Chadrack because he was under the age of five years) and a potential welfare issue.

"If there is no answer at the family home when staff members attend, they now immediately contact the police, who in most cases are likely to force entry.

"This protocol seems very sensible, but is clearly driven by the appalling tragedy of Chadrack’s death.

"It seems unlikely that other schools in Hackney, elsewhere in London, or indeed in the rest of England & Wales, have such a system in place."

The Mirror has attempted to contact the school for comment.

Morningside headteacher Janet Taylor said the school had followed its procedure for checking on children missing from school, Schools Week reports.

“Chadrack’s tragic death has devastated all those who knew him at our school,” she said.

“We will remember him as a happy little boy and the circumstances of his death are heartbreaking.”

Neighbours have revealed their horror telling local media of their distress at being clueless about the pair before it was too late.

One neighbour said she thought about the heartbreaking deaths of the Congolese mum and son every night before bed.

She said: "It has haunted me for a long time, that I could have helped, and I didn’t know.

“I keep thinking to myself: ‘Did I hear him? Did I hear him next door?’ But he never spoke. Never. He just hid behind his mum and held onto her clothes.

"He couldn’t even call out or speak through the letterbox.”

Ms Hassell wrote to the children’s minister Edward Timpson about absence procedures followed by schools.

Mr Timpson has until June 19 to respond to the coroner.

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