In 2016, Helen Daykin of Halifax, Yorkshire, in the U.K. was on a business trip when she had a feeling like something was wrong.
According to Cafe Mom, Daykin started making attempts to get in touch with her husband Chris, who was with their two daughters earlier that morning. When he failed to answer her multiple phone calls, she began to worry.
Eventually, she reached her mom to go over to her house to make sure Chris and the girls were okay. When Daykin’s mom arrived she noticed a light in the house was on and that the family’s milk delivery was still left outside. But she couldn’t get into the home.
Daykin’s mom called the police for assistance. After making a forced entry into the home, the police found Chris dead in his bed with his daughters lying next to him, alive.
Daykin told the BBC:
“Both of the children were okay. The police had broke in, the children were found in bed with him. He was cold, the children said. They told me they put tablets in his mouth to make him better. […] I think Pearl knew even at four [years old].”
Chris had passed away in his sleep of sudden heart failure.
The girls were left alone with their father’s body the whole day. Daykin claims that shouldn’t have happened; Pearl’s school never called to let her know that the stay-at-home dad hadn’t dropped her off that day, nor did he call her in absent.
“[The school] made their first phone call at 10:30 in the morning. They didn’t move down the list to call the second or third contact because their policy says they would only do that if she was on the vulnerable child register. You got a missing child, nothing in the school is more important.
As a result of being left with their father’s body for an entire day, Daykin says she has noticed that it took a toll on her girls psychologically. She told the BBC that her oldest, Pearl, developed separation anxiety, while her youngest, Iris, has to sleep with her every night because she’s afraid of the dark.
She told the BBC:
“Pearl can tell me every single detail and relives it often. I can’t leave the room without her shouting for me or wanting to be with me. I’m not pointing blame. I just want schools to look at their policies carefully.”
This isn’t the first time a British school failed to take the extra step to ensure a child’s safety, according to Cafe Mom. In 2016, 4-year-old Chadrack Mulo died of starvation and dehydration after his mother suddenly died of epilepsy and he was left clinging to her body for two whole weeks.
According to the Evening Standard, Mulo battled with learning disabilities and was unable to call for help or take care of himself properly. The school reportedly tried to reach his mother multiple time and even showed up at their door. However, they never called the police for additional help
Now Daykin is fighting to have all school policies changed to require the institutions to move down the list of emergency contacts as quickly as possible.
Watch more on the story below, via the BBC: