Partner of asylum seeker mum found dead next to starving baby says it’s a ‘miracle he’s still alive’

Emily Cleary
·4 mins read
Mercy Baguma's body was found next to her malnourished son, Adriel. (SWNS)
Mercy Baguma's body was found next to her malnourished son, Adriel. (SWNS)

The father of a toddler found starving next to the dead body of his mother has described his son’s survival as a “miracle”.

Mercy Baguma, 34, was found dead on 22 August, with 16-month-old Adriel so weak from starvation he was unable to stand up in his cot.

Her partner, Eric Nnanna, 30, had visited Baguma’s flat in Glasgow and heard his son crying inside.

Nnanna said the couple, who had been together for three years, had lived together at the start of the lockdown, and enjoyed spending time together as a family.

He called police when Mercy did not answer the door.

Nnanna said: "When they opened the door they said I shouldn't come in. They saw Mercy's body lying in her hallway and Adriel was in his cot.

"When my mind takes me back there I cry.”

Baguma is thought to have died on the Tuesday night. Her body was not discovered until the Saturday.

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Nnanna said his son was too weak to move when he was found.

“There was no strength,” he said.

"When I held him I was feeling his spine, his bones and then his nappy, the babygrow that he was wearing was all stained with blood.

"It was something that I just can't imagine. He couldn't even stand.”

Mercy, originally from Uganda, was unable to work due to her asylum situation but continued to volunteer in a charity shop, and had ambitions to join Police Scotland.

Money was tight for the couple due to their immigration status, but they made baby food for Adriel from scratch.

Nnanna said: "When he sees me he is always shouting 'Daddy, daddy, daddy' and I would go and carry him and lift him up.

"But he couldn't even recognise me.

"It is a miracle he survived.

"I don't know where he got the strength from to cry, because he had been there for so many days."

Nnanna was receiving a payment of £35 a week from the government, the family was supported by charities and their church.

But he refuted the suggestion Mercy starved to death.

He said: "There was a lot of fake news going around, the part where they said she starved to death was entirely wrong.

"Asylum seekers and refugees do not get a lot of support from the government but there are charities that help.

"To say that Mercy died of starvation or hunger is wrong – there were people there to help."

Adriel was born in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

Nnanna said neither he nor his partner had relatives in the UK. He said: "Looking after Adriel was all for us.

"At night I would stay awake and look after him while she sleeps, then during the day I would try to catch some rest and she looked after him. It was all us but I loved it, I really loved it.

"During lockdown it was financially a struggle but as a family it was really nice."

Adriel is being cared for by his father, who said his son needs constant reassurance and attention following his harrowing ordeal.

He said: "For those few days when he was in that flat he would have felt abandoned, that there was no one there for him.

"So he needs time to be reassured that his daddy is there and promises him he will never go.

"Right now he doesn't let me go out of his sight, he follows me everywhere, he needs that attention.

"He needs reassurance and lots and lots of love.

"My hope is for him to grow up knowing that his dad will always be there for him, that his dad will love him and care for him and when he grows older. I will tell him how loving his mum was."

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "We will be conducting a full investigation into Ms Baguma’s case."

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