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Inquest opens into deaths of mum and son
Monday 3rd December 2018 @ 11:29 by Eugene Henderson
Derbyshire Dinting Glossop High Peak News

A child’s cuddly toy left at the water’s edge led police to the discovery of a five-year-old boy and his mother in the icy waters of a reservoir, an inquest heard.

Social worker Emma Sillett and her son Jenson Spellman had been missing from home for two days when police frogmen recovered their bodies from the man made lake.

They had last been seen alive at a McDonald’s restaurant hours before Jenson’s father John Spellmen raised the alarm after his partner and child failed to return home on November 20.

Chesterfield Coroner’s Court heard officers found Ms Sillett’s black Peugeot 308 at the Valehouse Reservoir, near Tintwistle, the following day.

A search of the area found the cuddly toy and child’s torch by the water’s edge, but as darkness fell the search was called off.

When a specialist underwater team returned the next day they discovered the two bodies.

Both were recovered from the water at the reservoir which is less than three miles from the home Emma shared with John and their little boy in the village of Dinting, near Glossop.

Detective Chief Inspector Sally Blaiklock told the opening of the inquests into the deaths that Ms Sillett, 41, and Jenson were captured on CCTV leaving the house on Brookfield at 8.45am on November 20.

But Jenson did not make it to Simmondley Primary School in Glossop.

However, he was seen on CCTV with his mother at the McDonald’s in Hattersley, just a few miles from their home that lunchtime.

The mother and son stayed for an hour before driving off.

Concerned when they did not return home Mr Spellman rang 999 at 11.30pm and reported both as missing.

Police spoke to him again the next day and information he gave them led officers to the deserted reservoir.

DCI Blaiklock said Ms Sillett’s vehicle was found mid-afternoon in an unofficial car park normally used by workers from United Utilities.

“Items were found which were thought to belong to Emma and Jenson, including a torch and a cuddly toy, at the water’s edge,” said DCI Blaikman.

“The next day a specialist team arrived at 7am and at 11am the underwater search unit found two bodies in the water.”

Post mortems carried out by Dr Stuart Hamilton at Leicester Royal Infirmary gave the preliminary cause of death as drowning. No other injuries were found.

Detectives have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

Derbyshire Senior Coroner Dr Robert Hunter adjourned the inquests pending the results of toxicology tests being carried out and further police investigations.

The inquest heard that Ms Sillett worked for Stockport Council’s social services department in their adoption team.

Neighbours living near to the family’s three bedroom semi-detached house described the couple and their son as a  “a great family”.

But friends said the mother had recently been dealing with “underlying problems” in her life.

When she was reported missing many took to social media urging her to contact them.

After the tragedy Jenson’s headteacher at Simmondley Primary School in Glossop, paid tribute to a “perfect child”.

Debbie Greaves said everyone at the school was “devastated” by the sad news.

Describing him as “a bundle of energy” she added: “He constantly had a beaming, infectious smile and was kind and caring.”