A mother whose daughters spent almost 24 hours alone with their dead father is calling for schools to go further in checking on their pupils.
Helen Daykin’s husband Chris died unexpectedly around a year ago at their home in Halifax, in the north of England.
He often looked after their children, Pearl, 4, and Iris, 2, because Helen worked away from home. Pearl had just started school a few weeks earlier.
Chris died of heart failure suddenly during the night.
With Helen away, the two girls tried to wake him during the day, even putting indigestion tablets into his mouth to “make him better,” the BBC reported.
“They spent the whole day upstairs, they didn’t come down at all,” Helen told the BBC. “They were hungry. They played with all my shoes and makeup, but they didn’t venture further in the house.”
Eventually, with Helen’s mother unable to open the door, and Helen still in transit, the police were called to break down the door.
“I got on the train, and at 20:00 I got a call to say my husband had died but the children were OK,” Helen said.
She said her daughters are still traumatised by the incident.
“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,” she said.
But, said Helen, Pearl’s school only attempted to call Chris, without contacting her. Of course, they didn’t receive an answer.
She now wants schools to change how they check on pupils that haven’t arrived.
She said they should be calling second and third contact numbers and doing home visits.
Charity the Good Grief Trust has provided support to Helen.
Founder Linda Magistris told the BBC, “A parent dies in this country every 22 minutes, and that could be one of those parents that are by themselves, nobody knows they’re by themselves with the children.”