A mum bought her son a McDonald’s Happy Meal, filled his rucksack with rocks and tied their hands together before jumping into a reservoir, an inquest heard.
Emma Sillent, 41, drove five-year-old Jenson Spellman to a deserted spot in Derbyshire before ending their lives in murder-suicide.
The social worker left a note in her car which made it clear she wanted to end her own life but couldn’t bear to leave her son behind.
Jenson was found ‘tied to her by his wrist’, Chesterfield Coroner’s Court heard.
Emma had been struggling with depression for years and had recently suffered three miscarriages, the hearing was told.
Their bodies were found at Valehouse Reservoir in the Derbyshire Peak District two days after they were reported missing on November 20 last year.
The mum said she would ‘leave a marker’ to help locate their bodies, which led officers to find a cuddly toy and a torch at the water’s edge.
Jenson’s dad John Spellman called emergency services the following day, DC Rebecca Fearon told the inquest.
He told them his partner had been ‘very low’ and that she had previously talked about ‘ending it all’.
Emma’s black Peugeot 308 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 was found in the car.
DC Fearon said: ‘It was clear she battled with thoughts of suicide, but had also battled with continuing to live.’
She added: ‘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.’
The inquest was told Emma’s letter spoke about how she was ‘traumatised’ by her own childhood and how she had sought help and undergone some therapy, but added: ‘Nothing had helped’.
She had also written letters addressed to other family members apologising for what she was about to do.
The hearing heard how her brother’s death and miscarriages had contributed to her depression.
DC Fearon continued: ‘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.’
Concluding that Emma took her own life and unlawfully killed her son, Derbyshire Assistant Coroner Emma Serano said the mum’s note made it clear she had tried to carry out her plan the day before.
‘But Jenson became frightened so this was abandoned,’ she said.
‘We don’t know exactly what time events unfolded but at some time Emma took him out of the car, tied him to herself, then put rocks in the rucksack she was wearing and also put rocks in the pockets of his jacket and they entered the reservoir together.’
Addressing the families in court she added: ‘I simply do not have the words to express what I would like to express to you.’